Ed Team

Roger Ebert hearts Milk but not Utah

Filed By Ed Team | November 29, 2008 7:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Quote of the Day
Tags: film review, gay rights, Milk movie, Mormon, movies, Prop 8, Roger Ebert, Sean Penn, Utah

"In 1977, Harvey Milk became the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States. Yes, but I have become so weary of the phrase 'openly gay.' I am openly heterosexual, but this is the first time I have ever said so. Why can't we all be what we prefer? Why can't gays simply be gays, and 'unopenly gays' be whatever they want to seem? In 1977, it was not so. Milk made a powerful appeal to closeted gays to come out to their families, friends and co-workers, so the straight world might stop demonizing an abstract idea. But so powerful was the movement he helped inspire that I believe his appeal has now pretty much been heeded, save in certain backward regions of the land that a wise gay or lesbian should soon deprive of their blessings."

-- Film critic Roger Ebert in his review of Milk

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I don't understand why people are so quick to blame the entire state of Utah. I really don't. As a gay man born and raised in Utah who will never be able to boycott the state without cutting off his entirely accepting family, and as someone who spent years of his life actually working to change the climate in Utah, I find this constant stereotyping of the entire state to be ignorant and infuriating.

Nowhere in his review did Ebert mention Utah, but makes me uncomfortable is where he says that Milk's "appeal has now pretty much been heeded, save in certain backward regions of the land..."

The fact is that most of our brothers and sisters throughout the great mid-section of this country - other than several scattered metropolitan enclaves - continue to find it necessary to live in the closet. It is deeply frustrating to hear LGBT leaders as well as people like Roger Ebert, who, frankly, live in a bubble, imply otherwise.