My New Hero. . .

Dustin Lance Black


Delivered by Dustin Lance Black

Oscar Winner, Writing (Original Screenplay),  MILK


Oh my God. This was, um, this was not an easy film to make. First off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And, um, Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco and our entire cast, my producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story. 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? 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.

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14 Comments on “My New Hero. . .”

  1. Sue
    February 23, 2009 at 4:19 AM #

    Hear, hear! Beautiful words.

    How ironic that he comes from a Mormon family…


  2. 2fun4u
    February 23, 2009 at 5:06 AM #

    Beautiful words, and even more beautiful to read it again.

    Thank You


  3. Suzanne
    February 23, 2009 at 12:11 PM #

    Great speech. It will be a wonderful day when everybody can feel as loved and accepted for who they are, and can enjoy the equal rights that Dustin speaks of.


  4. Monica
    February 23, 2009 at 12:41 PM #

    Let’s stop judging each other’s lives! With a gay daughter, brother, and sister-in-law and friends, I say, love, live and laugh!


  5. Robin in DE
    February 23, 2009 at 1:05 PM #

    What a remarkable speech… I was teary when I heard it last night and again as I read it this morning. Thanks for sharing it here.


  6. February 23, 2009 at 2:17 PM #

    Hi Mark, Dustin’s speech was my fav from what I watched of the show. (I switched over to Big Love – and am glad I did.)

    Entertainment Weekly had a nice piece back in December about Dustin’s involvement in bringing the film to life. It’s on their website here:,,20243296,00.html


  7. February 24, 2009 at 1:46 AM #

    Ditto that from me! A message the world needs to hear!


  8. February 24, 2009 at 5:27 PM #

    Beautifully said. Why can’t we all just live and let love?


  9. Chris in Jaxs Beach Florida
    February 24, 2009 at 6:26 PM #

    My prayer would be that one day his words will become true. Watching a brother struggle with his teaching career due to his orientation was heart wrenching. The world has changed a bit since then but needs to go a whole lot further in acceptence. Perhaps this young man and others will help accomplish it.


  10. Cindie
    February 24, 2009 at 8:23 PM #

    We’re evolving, aren’t we? My wonderful gay son has so many more opportunities than did my gay uncle back in the 1950s. (Of course, we live in Massachusetts where same sex marriage has NOT ruined society or seduced straights into being gay). Thanks, Mark, for reprinting Dustin’s speech


  11. Pattyskypants
    February 25, 2009 at 8:40 PM #



  12. freddie
    February 26, 2009 at 8:56 PM #

    I’m always amazed by the comment that gays will ruin the institution of marriage–appears to me that us heterosexuals have done a fine job of that with the divorce rate at 1in 2 marriages, and that 1 is in pretty shaky shape. Noone has control over who you love–that’s why it’s love!!


  13. May 29, 2009 at 1:24 AM #

    Beautiful,sad….Beautiful tribute to his mother. Sad, because there’s still so much of the world that doesn’t get the fact that we as human beings are not put on this world to judge each other. I once wore a burgundy colored dress (amish style) long sleeved, past the knee, high on the neck dress to a new church I was visiting and one of the “ladies in the church” came up to me (I thought to introduce herself) and said, “Your husband let’s you wear that color? Wow! I have always been the kind of person and still am that cannot understand how anyone could ever intentionally hurt another human being. Please don’t feel alone in people’s cruel intentions because of lifestyle choices. Some people just like to target anyone that is vunerable.


  14. Baron Edward M. Lopes
    July 2, 2009 at 12:33 AM #

    Excelllent is not enough to describe this incredible work. Thank you God for Dustin Black.
    Ed Lopes


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