Thursday, February 21, 2013

Academy Awards: Milk Turns Gold

In 2009 Dustin Lance Black won the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the 2008 film, Milk. 

Raised in a strict Mormon household (he won two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the television series Big Love).  Growing up surrounded by Mormon culture and military bases, Dustin said he worried about his sexuality. He told himself, "I'm going to hell. And if I ever admit it, I'll be hurt, and I'll be brought down" when he found himself attracted to a boy in his neighborhood at the age of about 7.

Dustin spoke movingly of the day he read Harvey Milk's real life story. Milk, who was shot dead in 1978, was the first openly gay man elected to public office in California. "It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married," Black said.

"If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are 'less than' by their churches, by the government or by their families: that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value. And that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you. And that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours. Thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk."
 It's reported that his acceptance speech was censored in 50 different Asian nations by pan-Asian satellite TV network STAR, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.  STAR spokeswoman Jannie Poon defended the network’s muting of the words “gay” and “lesbian” by saying STAR has “a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration.”

In 2010, Mr. Black was elected to the Board of Directors of the Trevor Project, a national crisis and suicide prevention organization helping Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning young people who are facing familial rejection or considering suicide.

Note: There's much more to Mr. Black's biography---this post is related to the Oscars.  The rest of his interesting life will be featured later.

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