Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



FEATURE: Dustin Lance Black on his new project, Harvey Milk and more
News update posted Sunday, June 12, 2011
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 3425 times since Wed Jun 15, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black ( Milk ) has a new project. The Courage Campaign has launched a nationwide video challenge with Black called "Testimony: Take a Stand," in which they look for stories from everyday Americans regarding LGBT equality.

Windy City Times: I know this is two years late, but congratulations on the Oscar win. I have to ask: Where do you keep your award?

Dustin Lance Black: Oh, thanks man—that seems like a lifetime ago. I actually gave the Oscar to my mom; she has it in Virginia.

WCT: Now on to the Courage Campaign. Could you talk about the "Testimony" project? It was launched on Harvey Milk Day [ May 22 ] .

DLB: Sure. I'm involved with the American Foundation for Equal Rights, or AFER; we're the ones involved with the federal case against Proposition 8 in California, and it's looking incredibly likely that it's going to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. I look at that and I look at the time between now and then ... and I realized that we need to make it clear that America is trending towards equality.

There was a little bit of brainstorming about the most effective way to change minds and, with a little bit of research, it seemed that having gays or lesbians who feel unequal to actually meet other gays and lesbians, so that they can dispel the myths about gay and lesbian people. So we thought, "Hey, why don't we start to collect stories from across the nation—especially stories about diversity?" This diversity is not racial, but it's religious, it's geographic, it's about what kind of job you hold, what your family looks like. We want to demonstrate that the [ gay community ] is everywhere, that we're represented in every community and that we can defy preconceived notions about who and what we are.

Some of the ones we've received already have been very surprising. There are stories from religious communities, about people who are trying to reconcile their belief in God with their sexuality. However, this movment has a bunch of white guys running it—and we do need to hear from other racial communities. We certainly have to reach out to Black and Latino communities and change minds.

Over the summer, we'll share some of these stories on the Courage Campaign's website and on the radio. Say we get a moving video from Bedford, Texas; I'd like to show that video back in that area of Texas so that people there know that there are others in the community who are suffering from inequality.

In the end, we'll select three stories and I'll go to those hometowns to shoot those as public-service announcements. The idea is to take this video project to some of the groups in some of those areas.

WCT: Are you more inclined to go with smaller towns, where some think more outreach is needed?

DLB: The final three is determined by budget, but I also think that those three need to be incredibly diverse. So, I doubt that all three will be from a big city. There'll probably be one that represents a more metropolitan area, but these small towns need help. I hope, in the end, that the stories are incredibly surprising; I think that's what's going to be incredibly illuminating.

WCT: The campaign kicked off on Harvey Milk Day. If you had five minutes with Harvey, what would you ask him or say to him?

DLB: Oh, boy. If I only had five minutes, I would ask him what his next steps were going to be.

I think the man had such strength and such a strong conviction that we are equal. He, unlike so many leaders today, was able to shed that self-loathing many of us grew up with. He was unapologetic about who he was and how God made him. I think that's why he was able to make incredible progress so quickly. He made bold moves in the face of people saying, "Don't go there. It's not time yet." So I'm very curious about what he would've done next.

I know he wanted to march on Washington, D.C. In his last few weeks, he talked about taking the fight [ for gay rights ] to [ then-President ] Jimmy Carter. That propelled me to say, "Hey, let's take this fight to the federal government." However, I can only infer that, so it'd be great to hear what his actual strategy would've been.

[ Milk's death ] was such a great loss. We haven't seen the likes of him since.

WCT: As you know, June is Pride Month. What are you proud about concerning the LGBT community?

DLB: I think we have a lot to be proud of right now, in terms of our progress in the gay movement. Finally overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is something to be incredibly proud of. Winning this case in California in federal court and being that much closer to an eventual federal decision that would give marriage to all Americans in all 50 states—that's something to be incredibly proud of. Attached to that is the progress we've made in everyday Americans' opinions of equality for gay and lesbian people.

Sometimes I have to step back and say, "Boy, we've come a long way in a short amount of time." It seems that this new energy in the movement started at about 2008, and so many things have happened in that time and so many gay and lesbian groups have contributed.

That said, it's not time to let up. Civil rights is this [ constant ] game of winning and losing; it's this pendulum. We need to make sure we protect our gains as we move forward. I do think, to bring it full circle, that we do that by continuing to be out and to introduce ourselves to others. That's the difference between us and other minority groups: Some of us are not immediately identifiable.

We have to continue to tell our stories, and they don't have to be depressing. It can be about how joyous it was to have your first kid or to be married or your first kiss or how surprisingly wonderful it was to come out to your parents.

Record and upload a video no more than two mintues long telling a story in support of LGBT equality by no later than 11:59 p.m. PT on Wed., June 15; see At the end of this search, Black's film crew will choose three; fly to three separate locations to film these stories; and share them with the country in a television ad campaign.

This article shared 3425 times since Wed Jun 15, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

HRC endorses Pritzker, Stratton for re-election 2022-08-17
- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced its endorsements of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton for re-election. A press release stated, "HRC PAC is committed to engaging its volunteers, members and supporters to ...

Gay News

WORLD Vietnam's pro-LGBTQ+ move, Grindr kidnappings, Taiwan event 2022-08-14
Video below - Vietnam took a major step forward in the recognition of LGBTQ+ rights with the country's Ministry of Health stating that being gay, bisexual or transgender is not a disease and urging medical practitioners to end discrimination ...

Gay News

Voters preserve abortion rights in red state Kansas 2022-08-03
- In the first abortion-related election since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Kansas voters have rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would have specified that the right to terminate a pregnancy is not protected, ...

Gay News

HRC commends White House Monkeypox (MPV) Coordinator appointments; calls for greater federal response 2022-08-02
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, commended the Biden Administration for appointing Robert Fenton and ...

Gay News

Florida school districts sued over 'Don't Say Gay' law 2022-07-28
- Florida teens and their families, along with advocacy groups, have sued to block a law that restricts classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity, NBC News reported. The Parental Rights in Education law—dubbed the "Don't ...

Gay News

NCLR applauds Biden administration's restoration of key civil rights protections in health care regulations 2022-07-27
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — The National Center for Lesbian Rights applauds today's issuance of new proposed federal regulations that will restore essential nondiscrimination protections in health care, as required by federal ...

Gay News

HRC commends World Health Organization for declaring Monkeypox a global health emergency 2022-07-24
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON—Today, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, commended the World Health Organization (WHO) for taking the step to ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Miami textbooks, Lia Thomas, Florida churches, Key West figure dies 2022-07-24
- Miami-Dade County students could go months without sex-education books after school board members, by a five-to-four vote, rejected two proposed textbooks over concerns they violate the state's Parental Rights in Education bill, known by opponents as ...

Gay News

At NOW's national conference in Chicago, LGBTQ+ activists discuss coalitions, healthcare access 2022-07-23
- Leaders from the National Organization for Women (NOW) invited leaders of human rights organizations to discuss their efforts to support LGBTQ+ and other marginalized people in a June 23 panel during the organization's 2022 national conference ...

Gay News

Andorra passes civil marriage for same-sex couples 2022-07-22
- On July 21, lawmakers in the tiny European country of Andorra voted unanimously to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples, The Los Angeles Blade reported. Andorra is a small country known for its ski areas ...

Gay News

WORLD Argentina report, Gay Games, conversion therapy, Ukraine petition 2022-07-17
- The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), in partnership with Instituto de Políticas Publicas LGBT, released its first-ever, Argentina-focused HRC Equidad AR: Global Workplace Equality Program report, a press release noted. ...

Gay News

Biden signs executive order preserving abortion access 2022-07-08
- On July 8, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that takes steps to preserve abortion access. However, he underscored that it would take political change to restore the rights removed when the Supreme Court overturned ...

Gay News

HRC calls for equitable rollout of Monkeypox (MPV) vaccine 2022-07-08
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, has been closely monitoring the monkeypox (MPV) outbreak in the ...

Gay News

Mental-health specialist Dani LaPlant talks feelings, LGBTQ+ rights, allies and more 2022-07-03
by Andrew Pirrotta - At a time when this country is seemingly more divided than ever, LGBTQ+ rights, and lives, are on the line. Whether it's states like Texas and Florida fighting to ban gender-affirming healthcare, or the Supreme Court ...

Gay News

Sen. Baldwin, colleagues applaud confirmation of Global AIDS Coordinator, push for global LGBTQI+ rights 2022-07-02
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen.Tammy Baldwin joined her colleagues in congratulating John Nkengasong on his recent confirmation as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. The lawmakers also urged Ambassador Nkengasong to ensure ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.