Sadly,(Harvey) Milk and his many partners could be poster boys for an analysis produced by authors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows the widespread degree to which men who have sex with men were abused as children.
. . . Milk and his partners live tumultuous, painful lives, rife with anonymous sex, public sex, bathhouses, prostitution, drugs, depression, alcohol abuse, suicide attempts and multiple partners. The pain and confusion of childhood sexual abuse festers on as their lives unfold
Later in life, Milk condemned child predators. But he evidently never made the connection with his own childhood sexual abuse or that of his partners. Nor does he ever question the brokenness that surrounds him – drugs, risky sexual behavior, alcohol abuse, depression and suicide – except to blame society.
And it begins.
Jeff Johnston of Focus on the Family has written an irresponsible piece on Harvey Milk that is all over the map. It looks like the piece was created to criticize the movie Milk but tailored to include talking about Milk's recent selection as a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
Johnston is clearly trying to imply that Milk was "introduced into gay sex" by older men.
He is also pulling the "gays lead lives full of promiscuous sex and other risky behavior" factoid in an effort to denigrate Milk and create the idea that President Obama erred in giving Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
For the record, Johnston is being highly deceptive when he invokes the Centers for Disease Control's name because he isn't even citing the organization's work but a link to another Focus on the Family piece, Childhood Sexual Abuse and Male Homosexuality.
The irony is that piece freely cites work from Straight and Narrow which was written by Thomas Schmidt. Schmidt is not a doctor but a theologian who freely cited Paul Cameron in Straight and Narrow.
Now about Johnston's other assertions, I will be honest. I don't know if Milk was promiscuous and I don't really care.
I don't know if Milk was "introduced to sex by an older man" and again I don't care.
What Johnston is doing is blaming Milk for the something he could not control but worked to end.
We know how things were back then for lgbts. Gay men were not free to be out or open abou their lives for fear of reprisals. There is a lot of shame in secrecy and with shame comes bad behaviors.
Also, lgbt children could not be open either. So when they found enclaves where they could be open (be it Fire Island or whatever), they went full speed ahead.
The only implication Johnston and I agree on is the fact that this is not a way to live.
But if Johnston or Focus on the Family in general feel that there was something wrong with the decisions that Milk and other lgbts made in light of the world they had to deal with, then they would stop trying to hinder the progression of lgbt rights.
Every time Focus on the Family and other so-called moral groups attack lgbt clubs in our schools or any other thing that would help lgbts, they work to create the unfortunate world where there is shame and secrecy for those who don't fit the heterosexual orientation.
Johnston's and Focus on the Family's attack on Milk clearly reinforces the fact that he is highly deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
They exploit a world of shame and fear.
Milk worked to destroy it.
He taught lgbts to stand up and demand our respect, to not hide in dark corners, and not let the world define us.
Harvey was an American hero.