Gentilly Girl- a part of the 99%

November 22, 2008

Thirty Years Ago was My First Political Campaign

Filed under: Harvey Milk,Inter/Trans-Sexed,LGBT,Memories — Morwen Madrigal @ 12:28 pm

It was 1978 and I had been in San Francisco for maybe 9 months. The majority of the folks I knew were centered in the Castro District… I liked those folks. They were pretty much open, fun loving and accepting of a Navy kid from the Deep South. What went on in their bedrooms was none of my business, just as my “secret” was none of theirs. We had a neat little community going.

Then a crazy State Senator named Briggs came up with Prop 6- a banning of Gays and their supporters from being able to teach in Public schools. Since I was still contemplating getting a teaching degree when my enlistment was up, I knew that my being Trans would definitely rule out a chance to teach if Prop 6 passed.  That was the day I got into politics. (I had been doing community stuff for a few years, but not a campaign of this size.)

I handed out flyers, knocked on doors and basically became a pest in our fight to stop this evil proposition. Even got a talking-to from my C.O. regarding my efforts on the base. (Yep, couldn’t do that on Federal property, but he did agree with me.) I spent most of my free time traveling around the Bay Area to help stop this thing from passing. Many, many others were doing the same thing. It was very much a true Grassroots adventure. And we won the battle.

My Gentle Readers are probably looking cross-eyed at me wondering why I’m going into my ancient past. It’s because of a great piece from the HuffPo, “What Harvey Milk Tells Us About Proposition 8″. I was one of Harvey’s troops in the battle.

It’s a wonderful essay, so go and read it please. But first, here’s a portion of Harvey’s speech on the night we drove Prop 6 down:

“ the gay community all over this state, my message to you is, so far a lot of people joined us and rejected Proposition 6, and we owe them something. We owe them to continue the education campaign that took place. We must destroy the myths once and for all, shatter them. We must continue to speak out, and most importantly, most importantly, every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is you must tell your immediate family, you must tell your relatives, you must tell your friends, if indeed they are your friends, you must tell your neighbors, you must tell the people you work with, you must tell the people in the stores you shop in (thunderous applause), and once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and for all. And once you do, you will feel so much better.”

That night changed my life even though it would be several years before I summoned up the courage to declare my true self to the World. To just be what the Goddess made me. Life is very good now.

And a sad note, three weeks later Harvey Milk was assasinated along with Mayor Moscone by Dan White.

I wrote about the repercussions last March concerning the murder of the community’s hero.


  1. I so want to watch that movie, especially after listening to the Book’s author describe how a couple of others from that time were on set when Penn came out of his trailer as Harvey… and they had to leave the set overcome with emotion at how close he had gotten it.

    Indeed, I read elsewhere (but I can’t find it d’oh!) that Sean said he went through a “deep change” in studying Milk and the Movement.

    And you were there. Why am I not surprised. I am not surprised. Goddess takes care of fools and errant troubadours thank you very much, so why not a warrior princess of the long run?

    Thanks you so much for such a wonderful confirmation of the reality of change… it being in such short shrift these days.
    I mean, not just in this great post… but in you, your bad ass self.

    Comment by Editilla — November 23, 2008 @ 10:17 am

  2. The author was on NPR if you want to hear the thingy.
    Yes, I do still follow npr, despite their selling out to Velveeta, but they do still mention NOLA from time to time, albeit still a bit downheartedly for me –but they still talk about us anyway… mention her name… call her out to da’woild…
    New Orleans… because people are still listening… but mainly because all npr’s techs and producers know what the fuck is going down or just simply know…
    sorry, I know I am dotting…

    Comment by Editilla — November 23, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  3. The Goddess? Yep that’s a good one.

    I always wanted to live in the Haight-Ashbury and attend UC Berkeley. Couldn’t pull that off so I joined the Navy.

    Was supossed to be stationed in Scotland, then later Washington in order to train nuke folk, but then the Navy assigned me to the Enterprise. That landed me in the Bay Area… right in time to become part of a major revolution.

    The Goddess has strange ways- just as I was coming out I decided to come home to New Orleans. Three years later comes the Federal Flood of our homeplace.

    And here I am, fighting yet another battle in my worn out condition.

    Fuck it. I don’t care.

    What we are, what we believe, what we care about matters. The Lady set all of this up and all I can do is live it.

    It’s been one Hell of a ride, and I ain’t done yet.

    Comment by Morwen Madrigal — November 23, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

  4. [...] I wrote about Harvey Milk and the value of his words in reference to California’s Proposition 8 that was passed by a [...]

    Pingback by Gentilly Girl » Conviction Of The Heart… — November 24, 2008 @ 2:09 am

  5. thanks for sharing a personal remembrance of Milk and his times. Very timely now that the new movie is out which is FABULOUS. (Just saw it in the Castro Theater which was surreal as so much of the action takes place around the ‘Stro.)

    And keep ranting on New Orleans. Someone has to keep these issues front and center and it’s looking like it’s the voices of NOLA bloggers who are doing it.

    Comment by Lisa Paul — December 22, 2008 @ 12:40 pm

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