Light Up the Night – Milk – Was Dan White Gay?

“If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” – Hermann Hesse

I took my mom to Berkeley yesterday to see Milk and saw it myself for the second time – incredible movie, please watch it in theaters if you get a chance.

In all seriousness, I didn’t get the point of ‘candle-light’ vigils before I watched the movie. I never thought about it as a symbolic message that could mean something — ‘beacons of light’ in the darkness of hate. I would have expected riots after Milk was shot dead and brutally killed. But the vigil picturized in the movie was simply heart-breaking and a mature response that I probably cannot undertake. Then again, violence begets more violence.

There is one underlying tone in the movie that still confuses me a second time around — Was Dan White a closet gay? Is there documented evidence of that? Is that why Harvey was so willing to accomodate the socially-conservative Irish-American who finally shot and killed him? There are times the screenplay comes close to revealing it only to shy away from it. If it indeed is true, it would make sense as to why Dan White would kill over a small political seat; it was not just about the seat. If he was indeed closeted, he probably resented the fact that Harvey Milk was so openly gay, yielded power because he was gay AND had more allies than him despite being gay. Internalized homophobia is one of the leading causes of hate against gays; see this study done in the 1990s –
Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender: Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal?

I am crossing my fingers for Sean Penn to get an Oscar for his performance as Milk.

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