There’s been much progress toward LGBT equality since the time of Harvey Milk, but much work remains to be done, Milk’s nephew Stuart said in an interview on MSNBC’s The Last Word Thursday night.
A U.S. postage stamp honoring Harvey Milk was issued earlier in the day, which would have been the martyred gay politician’s 84th birthday. Stuart Milk, who is himself gay and cofounded the Harvey Milk Foundation to work for LGBT causes, said many of the advances have come because people have done what his uncle recommended in the 1970s: come out.
Noting the presence of openly gay people in the NFL and at the Grammy Awards, same-sex weddings on TV, and politicians embracing LGBT rights because their children have come out to them, Milk said, “All of these things really are progressing from my uncle’s core message, which is that visibility is the answer, and that when people know us, and they know LGBT people in their lives, the lies, the myths, the innuendos get brought down and we move on towards acceptance.”
Host Ari Melber and Milk also discussed the fact that homophobia persists around the world, and Melber showed a news video about the antigay climate in Uganda, which this year enacted a law further criminalizing homosexuality. It is one of the 77 countries where it is still a crime to be gay.
“Part of the responsibility lies with people like [antigay minister] Scott Lively … American evangelicals who go over and spread this type of diminishment and hatred,” Milk said. They are exporting their ideology because American tolerance for it has diminished, but homophobia does remain alive in the U.S., Milk and Melber noted, pointing to the antigay remarks by Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and the prevalence of homelessness among LGBT youth, who may hear rhetoric like that from their families.
Watch the full segment below; it also includes clips from the Harvey Milk stamp release ceremony, with remarks from members of Congress including Tammy Baldwin, John Lewis, and Nancy Pelosi.