In celebration of the opening of the new movie "MILK", we are excited to share this amazing piece by Steve Beery. Steve was a writer and gay activist who died of AIDS in '93. He met Harvey Milk when he was 25 years old and Harvey was 48. Harvey was a daddy who definitely appreciated younger men. This piece was provided to us by Armistead Maupin (my wonderful husband), who met Steve at Harvey's memorial service and remained his closest friend until his death.
My Month with Harvey
by Steve Beery
I was suffering from a typical San Francisco ailment – costume claustrophobia. My tights were riding up, my fake-satin cape was itchy, and beads of sweat were rolling down behind my eye mask. I was dressed as Robin the Boy Wonder at the 1978 Beaux Arts Ball, and I was being unmistakably cruised by a man I knew but had never met. The man was Harvey Milk, the first openly gay city supervisor – a man I respected and admired.
We’d smiled and nodded on Castro Street several times that year. I like Harvey’s wide-open grin, and I’d wondered whether the attraction was mutual. Now it looked like maybe it was. Nervously I straightened my cape, checked my trunks, adjusted my gloves. The supervisor, at ease in his rumpled grey suit, extended his hand and uttered the corniest pick-up line imaginable. “Hop on my back, Boy Wonder, and I’ll fly you to Gotham City,” he said, almost keeping a straight face.
The line was corny, but effective. Harvey had a gift for persuasion, a way of making you believe he could do anything. We swapped phone numbers and got together the next night. The thing that impressed me most was his laugh, explosive and uninhibited; that, and the slightly daffy look in his eyes, like an overgrown kid’s. At 48 he was nearly twice my age, but full of boyish mischief.
It didn’t take me long to realize that Harvey was a nut, a screwball, a wild card. He was also a satyr, a gleeful disciple of Eros who’d found a way to marry his essential craziness to a set of well-ordered work habits. He insisted on being on call to his constituents 24 hours a day. No problem – from towed cars and trash pickup to tree pruning – was too small. Despite his hippie, flower-power, Summer of Love experience, there wasn’t an ounce of “California mellow” in Harvey. His native New York aggression, undiluted by the amiability of Castro Street, was always spoiling for a fight.
I was surprised, on our first date, to find out how strong he was. He didn’t have a gym-toned body; he was built more like a big bull, rangy and muscular. Within his first two minutes at my apartment he picked me up and dumped me unceremoniously on my bed. He liked to do things fast, at double speed. He walked fast. He talked fast. He even ate fast.