Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Living with a Legacy

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Living with a Legacy

Article excerpt

When I think of George Moscone, I think of San Francisco. And politics. And death. But to think of him as my father requires some real imagination. Over the years since his death, I have learned of his legacy as a civil rights leader who successfully pushed for passage of the nation's first major gay rights legislation and as the first mayor in San Francisco's history to open city hall's doors to those outside the power structure--minorities, women, and gays and lesbians. But it is only recently that I have come to truly know him as a father and as a man.

On November 24, I gave a speech at the city's opera house in front of nearly 1,000 people--old friends of the family, colleagues of my father, and San Franciscans who remember a city and a time that is gone forever. That event, which began with a tribute by Mayor Willie Brown, marked the 20th anniversary of the deaths of my father and Supervisor Harvey Milk. As I got up to speak, I couldn't escape the feeling that I was woefully unprepared for the task of honoring a man I barely knew, a man who towered over me with his nearly epic self-confidence. My father had the charm to knock anyone's socks off, and the energy that emanated from him was undeniably potent. When he spoke, he meant it. When he touched you, you felt it. When he listened, you were heard. This was no ordinary man.

But I was just a child then, and the taste of such a man was far too strong. Twenty years older, I stand taller than he did when last I saw him, but back then he was a true gargantuan, a giant among men and little boys. My father risked it all--in his work and his life. And that fearlessness of his---well, it nearly scared me to death.

But it was he who died. And with my father went the life of a child. That day in 1978 I saw my childhood and the youth of my brother and sisters vanish before our very eyes. An irrevocable change occurred in the earth's atmosphere; it was like a nuclear blast, but with all the sound turned off. Color was drained from the picture. Life would never be the same.

Twenty years later I still can remember how hopeless and endless the world felt then. It was a tremendously difficult memory to unearth on November 24. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.