As February correlates with LGBTQ+ History month, we are celebrating different figures within the community that are using their platform to promote progress; and evoke change within society. As we progress as a society, it’s crucial that we remember the past actions of our predecessors that have got as to this privilege place and use their actions to further our standpoint in society.
Dustin Lance Black is an American Oscar awards winning screen writer for the biopic of gay rights activist Harvey Milk. Black himself followed in his inspiration footsteps, as he postponed his excelling career in Hollywood to focus on advocating for equal rights; in particularly gaining marriage equality at a federal level.
After contributing years of time and money into this their goal America gained marriage equality; and Black remained a prominent activist in the community. As well as creating a mini-series When We Rise dictating the events of the gay rights movement after Harvey Milk’s assassination. He also became a best-selling author with his autobiography Mama’s Boy,
Black’s career highlights the work of the people who came before us and blazed the trail for gay rights at a time when the LGBTQ+ community was not widely accepted or talked about and was riddled in stigma. Black has made it his mission throughout his career to ensure that the work of people like Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay politician in America is not forgotten and is cemented in the history books. He continues this through his mini-series, When We Rise, which depicts the aftermath of Harvey Milk’s death and how his legacy continues as well as highlighting the devastating effects that the AIDS crisis had particularly in America.
Commemorating LGBT history in the media is crucial as a large majority of it gets lost as its not widely taught in schools; and unlike the history of people with different ethnic background isn’t taught through family. So, it’s crucial that this history is made accessible to people. It’s also important for us to remember the lives lost in order for us to have the rights we have to today, which we shouldn’t take for granted. Celebrating this also teaches a new generation of queer youth a deeper level of respect for their elders.
He continues his activism by being a leading advocate for the progression of human rights, encouraging different minority groups to help each other to advance change within society. A strategy that he spoke about at lengths this summer regarding the Black Lives Matter Movement urging a call to action for all minority communities to come together and support each other.
Throughout Black’s work he has struck the perfect balance between commemorating the work of the people who came before us and using their experiences to tackle issues that we face in today’s society.
You can rent or buy Dustin Lance Black’s film, Milk on Amazon Prime, which I can’t recommend enough.
Featured Image Credit – The Telegraph