The Milk Issue

Pub date November 18, 2008

It took Hollywood 30 years to make a feature film about the life of Harvey Milk, and when Gus Van Sant finally got the gig, and Sean Penn agreed to play the title role, it came out too late to have an impact on the California election. Would Milk, the movie, have helped defeat Prop. 8? Nobody knows. But the movie is inspirational, and with any luck will carry the message of Milk’s life to the masses. Milk always said that the more straight Americans got to know gay and lesbian people, the more they would be open to equal rights.

The Guardian covered Milk’s career as it was happening, devoted a special issue to him when he was assassinated, covered the trial of Dan White and the infamous Twinkie Defense and the riots afterward. And with the movie hitting theaters this month, we’re taking a look not just as the movie but the political legacy of Harvey Milk.

>>Political theater
Gus Van Sant gives Harvey Milk his close-up
By Kimberly Chun

>>Politics behind the picture
Would Harvey Milk be happy with San Francisco today?
By Steven T. Jones and Tim Redmond

>>I remember Harvey
Guardian memories of the long-haired young hopeful
By Bruce B. Brugmann

>>The apathy and the ecstacy
St. Harvey inflames, but does he inspire?
By Marke B.

>>Hot flash gallery
Now and then in the photography of Daniel Nicoletta
By Johnny Ray Huston

>>Behind the “Twinkie Defense”
The reporter who coined the infamous phrase looks back at the White trial
By Paul Krassner

>>Past, present, future
The time is now for The Times of Harvey Milk
By Johnny Ray Huston

>>Where’s Harry?
Harvey Milk’s political torchbearer gets written out of film history
By Tim Redmond

From the archives (PDF)
How the District Attorney Joe Freitas’s office blew the Dan White murder case, May 23, 1979
By Robert Levering and David Johnston