It was a big night for LGBT rights at the Oscars! Here are the startling and amazing speeches made by Dustin Lance Black and Sean Penn:
Dustin Lance Black:
"When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married.
I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk."
The politics of shame, being mobilized FOR queer rights and against Prop 8, is a keen rhetorical weapon. Penn also alluded to the protesters outside the building, who were holding anti-queer signs (shocker).
It was a pretty amazing night, all in all: Penelope Cruz celebrated the creative and redemptive power of global cinema in her speech, and even managed to mention Almodovar; Dustin Lance Black reminded queer and questioning kids that they're "beautiful, wonderful creatures of value"; and Sean Penn addressed every supporter of Prop 8 (no doubt some of them were sitting in the audience), telling them that they ought to feel deep shame for their disavowal of human rights.
We even got to see a clip from Milk, with Sean Penn kissing James Franco! Sure, they slipped it in just for a second, but it was there!
As Audre Lorde reminds us: "My silences have not protected me. Your silence will not protect you."