The recent Diversity Honors gala is the South Florida community’s best evidence of our beautiful humanity. On May 6, 2017, the South Florida LGBT community gathered to celebrate and acknowledge the good that our community does - both from the inside and the outside.
We honored the full spectrum of our humanity from the young Isaiah Henderson, Pulse survivor, to elder Irish statesman Senator David Norris, from the gay to the straight, from the transgender to the cisgender, and yes, from the Blue to the Red.
The recent focus on this last group is very disconcerting. The message of both the Harvey Milk Foundation and The Pride Center is inclusion. That some in our community would attempt to co-opt this beautiful event and turn it partisan is shameful. To go so far as to describe the decor as purposefully red is ludicrous. The tasteful decor was the selection of the amazingly supportive Seminole Hard Rock staff and their intention was to create an ambiance that was first class - and they truly succeeded. And the focus on, and disruptive characterization of, the event going “red” is so very misplaced. To minimalize and marginalize those who support us just because they may have other ideologies that we do not agree with is the antithesis of what we stand for.
If we are to succeed and move society forward to a more accepting place, we need to start with accepting all - including the Republicans who have so clearly and vocally supported us. Ambassador Nancy Brinker has a very long history of solid support for the LGBT community. She has written about her support and acceptance of her openly gay son and has put her money were her mouth is. She has hosted events with the Harvey Milk Foundation in Hungary - at the highest diplomatic levels - and Hungary is not an easy place to be gay. She has written beautiful and moving pieces in the Huffington Post and is a very active member of the Advisory Board of the Harvey Milk Foundation. In this way she emulates Harvey who worked hand-in-hand with Republican California Senator Milton Marks, who was a fierce conservative yet open to LGBT inclusion. Harvey set the tone when he joined with Marks and made history by showing that we can work across the aisle and make progress.
That some in our community prefer to distort the truth and taint a fiercely pro-LGBT advocate’s record by misquoting her on an unrelated issue is disingenuous to the SFGN readers and is a testament to the work that still needs to be done both within and outside of our community. The Harvey Milk Foundation has never subscribed to the name and shame philosophy of some in our community. We believe in acceptance - not just of the LGBT community but acceptance of all who are like minded in the belief that we are one human family and are equally deserving of respect. The Foundation works tirelessly around the globe to move the world to a place where everyone can be their authentic selves - without shame and without fear. But most importantly with hope - as Harvey said so many years ago: Hope will never be silent.
I would like to think that we, as a community, will never silence the hope that is expressed by those who, while they may differ from us, agree that we are all human.
— Miriam Richter, Education Director & Counsel, Harvey Milk Foundation
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