I was surprised to find myself quoted in a recent Associated Press article about HRC leasing Harvey Milk's old camera shop in the Castro. I banged off a quick rant, used my massive Photoshop skills to whip up the graphic, and forgot about it. Apparently including a doctored photo of the Mona Lisa gets you an AP quote! *grins*
"It's spitting in the face of Harvey's memory," said AIDS Memorial Quilt founder Cleve Jones, who received his political education at Milk's side in the 1970s.
"What's next? Removing the Mona Lisa's face and replacing it with the Wal-Mart smiley face?" asked Bil Browning, the founder of a popular gay issues blog.
"He was not an 'A-Gay' and had no desire to be an A-Gay. He despised those people and they despised him," [Dustin Lance Black] said. "That, to me, is the crowd HRC represents. Don't try to wrap yourself up in Harvey Milk's mantle and pretend you are one of us."
Seriously though, it really does irritate me that HRC will be taking over the space. Cleve called me after the post went up and left a message about how irritated he is over the blatant commercialism and I wholeheartedly agree. It smacks of riding an assassinated man's memory all the way to the bank.
Still, this suggestion for a compromise on the issue intrigues me.
Some folks on Facebook have started a group urging HRC to give the space to Trevor Project. The Bay Area Reporter tells some of the backstory:
This week a Facebook page was launched to urge HRC officials to rethink their use of the storefront at 575 Castro Street. As of Wednesday, more than 300 people had said they "like" the idea of allowing the Trevor Project operate a call-in center at the store.
Openly gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) told the Bay Area Reporter he thinks it would be an ideal compromise that Milk would also like.
"Harvey would be pissed and amused and then try to leverage it. This might be the common ground solution," said Ammiano. "He would want for us to not be fighting in public as much and come to some solution that would be really beneficial."
Over 400 people have joined the group as I write this so they're gaining momentum. (I joined.) The article says that HRC has been approached about the possibility but rebuffed the possibility. The Trevor Project didn't respond to media inquiries - including mine.
I don't know how the Trevor Project utilizes space currently. Would they even be interested in moving? Do they have their own facilities now? Would HRC also operate in the same location?
There's a lot of questions still left - and this is only an idea generated online - but still, it's intriguing. If Trevor could use the space, it would mollify my grumblings quite a bit.