And a happy "National Coming Out Day" to everyone. If Harvey Milk were around (and somehow I know he is looking down on us from that great big camera shop in the sky) he'd be smiling.
Harvey would be smiling for a variety of reasons:
1) The Castro has-and-gets the respect he fought for, and ultimately gave his life for. Today, the San Francisco Chronicle carried an above-the-fold article on Halloween and its often troubled history in the "94114". Thanks to Chuck Nevius for a great article full of info, wit and the celebrated diversity of opinion that Harvey championed. Bottom line -- As Harvey had hoped, the Castro is written about, and considered an intregal part of the San Francisco whole. Here's the article, reminding people that again this year, there is NO party in the Castro: keep it home for Halloween.
2) Harvey would be smiling because his neighborhood is listened to and respected for its diversity. So, when non-Castro elements have descended on Halloweens past intent on ruining Harvey's smile, Castro businesses and residents have worked with City officials to make it clear: not in MY home. Hence, the 2nd annual "Home for Halloween" campaign (www.homeforhalloween.com). In a sense, the Castro has "come out" as a vital part of the City -- not just a place for people to gawk at our LGBTQQ sisters and brothers. We have demanded respect and received it.
3) "National Coming Out Day" is a real reason to celebrate. As a wise man once said, "the truth will set us free" and certainly Harvey freed many through his vision, a vision those of us proud to live in Harvey's district work hard to further.
I like to think that if Harvey were still around, he'd be right up front -- like his successor Supervisor Bevan Dufty -- helping support the Home For Halloween campaign to keep Castro safe; to demand respect for its residents; to spread the word that violence, bigotry and bad behavior don't have a home here.