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Okay, I went a week without making another Harvey Milk post, but I love doing these things like Harvey loved pretty young men with emotional issues. Here's the latest dose of lactose, in which I think I finally have some kind of semi-comprehensive guide to the boyfriends.

But first, a question from a previous HM post answered...

When Harvey and Scott broke up, who got custody of the dog? (I know you're all just dying to know.)

Please forgive my frequent references to The Kid, Harvey and Scott's dog. It started when I was analyzing the trailer and realized didn't know the dog's name and continued when I started wondering where the dog went when the Milk/Smith partnership shifted from romantic/business to business only. Anyway, Harvey got custody of The Kid, though this may not have been the best idea - Scott accused Jack Lira of being not only a crazy alcoholic but a dog-abuser as well. Step-parents can have such issues with Kids from previous marriages.

I am unaware of the fates of the fan-tail pigeons Joe Campbell gave Harvey for Valentine's Day and Trick and Trade, Harvey's dog and cat with Jack McKinley, except that none of them went to San Francisco. Perhaps this shall become the next subject of my investigative reporting.

The Milk Men: My Attempt At Figuring Out Harvey's Boyfriends


I guess that on the purely social level there was a Milk Maid or two or three, as Harvey's brother Robert said that the two of them double-dated in high school. However, they were merely Milk Mustaches, or, rather, Beards. As far as I can tell, Harvey, knowing he was gay from the age of fourteen, never had any sort of sexual relationship with a woman.

Random Men, Round One: 1944-1951
Who: Anonymous men who picked up Harvey in the standing-room section of the opera or in a park.
Harvey's Age: Fourteen to twenty-one.

Basically, teenage Harvey, already saying things like "I'm too sophisticated for Verdi" (for real), asked his mom for extra allowance money to go to the opera, which is one of those things that isn't necessarily gay on its own but is still like, "Dude, the signs were there" once you find out that the kid is gay. So, Minerva Karns Milk (yep, she shared a name with Professor McGonagall) took it upon herself to tell her beloved younger son that he should be careful going to New York City alone, because although he already knew about the kind of men who wore dresses, there were other men kind of like that who "did things" to boys. It turned out Minnie was right, and they all seemed to be in the standing-room section of the old Met. It also turned out Harvey enjoyed them "doing things", although this is no excuse for statuatorily raping some random kid during the second aria. The random encounters continued after he was legally of age and going to teachers' college.


Right: Harvey, two years before losing his virginity. Ick, I feel unclean.


Left: Harvey at college graduation, by which point he had had lots and lots of sex.


Random Men, Round Two: 1951-1956
Who: More anonymous men, but this time with a bed.
Harvey's Age: Twenty-one to twenty-six.

So after college he went into the Navy. I think quoting The Mayor of Castro Street will sum this up nicely:

Harvey's officer status allowed him the privilege of his own apartment off base in San Diego. He and his gay friends partied away their weekend passes there, crusing the main strip near the base for hitchhiking sailors. The huge number of military men leaving for Korea strained San Diego's standard housing. Thousands slept on the concrete floors of the local YMCAs. "Hey, sailor, do you want to sleep on a concrete floor or a bed?" asked Harvey Milk, the patriot, after a perusal of the available material. The guests often would not know that Milk's apartment had only one bed until they walked in the door.


I guess the Village People knew what they were talking about with all that "In The Navy" and "YMCA" stuff...


Joe Campbell: 1956-1962
Who: A sexy and messed-up kid just waiting for a white knight (and y'all thought the other Harvey had sole claim on that title).
Harvey's Age: Twenty-six to thirty-two.

Readers of previous posts will remember this guy. He's the one who gave Harvey the pigeons, the one who was the Sugar Plum Fairy in the song "Walk On The Wild Side", the one who got the gushy mushy anniversary letter, the one Harvey built the snowman for. He and Harvey met when Joe was nineteen at a gay beach.


I wanna take you to a gay beach, gay beach, gay beach...


Here we see the first signs of what ended up becoming something of a repeating cycle for Harvey: fall for a hot young man with issues, do your best to take care of him, and then break up because the issues are just too much. Joe's big issue was that he'd been statuatorily raped at an even younger age than Harvey (nine) and he didn't really enjoy sex except as a way to get attention. Harvey, on the other hand - TMI alert - was so horny that the first time they danced together he prematurely ejaculated. (Don't look at me. I didn't make the man's life, I just report it from my sources.)


Mr. Marauder's comment: "Dude, the other guy is totally, like, snuggling with his 'nads."


Harvey's mom really liked Joe and made sure to feed him lots whenever the two visited. Randy Shilts says in TMOCS that they were treated like a couple during these visits, but I'm not sure what that means in terms of sleeping arrangements. My personal guess would be same bedroom, separate beds. Minnie also made them matching afghans, which is cute.

Eventually, after years of cutesy-ness and adding "uminimuns" on the end of every word, Joe decided to stop sleeping with Harvey, which went over about as well as when Scarlett O'Hara decided to stop sleeping with Rhett Butler. Harvey asked Joe to move out and then changed his mind, but it was too late, and the romance of Joesan and Harveysan was over. Joe then got with a guy named Oliver "Bill" Sipple, who would later be famous for saving Gerald Ford from an assassination attempt and being outed by Harvey to the newspapers. Pretty ballsy for a guy who didn't fully come out until he was forty, which leads us to the next boyfriend...

Craig Rodwell: 1962
Who: A gay activist and future Stonewall Rioter.
Harvey's Age: Thirty-two.

Harvey called him every morning at 9:30 to wake him up for his ballet class and tell him horrible jokes. Example. Question: "What did Helen Keller's parents do to punish her?" Answer: "They rearranged the furniture." Alternative answer: "They made her read the waffle iron."

Craig was all into gay activism stuff, which was a lot less loud and more polite in 1962 than it was in the 70s. Still, it kind of freaked Harvey out, especially when Craig told him that he should come out because he had "a great job, a nice apartment, all the kitchenware a queen could ever dream of. Everything but the chance to be openly who you are, like a normal human being." Harvey said it would kill his parents, although I suspect ol' Minnie maybe wasn't quite as much in the dark as he thought. Eventually Craig got arrested for arguing with the cops when they raided the gay beach, and that was pretty much the end. Craig went on to be the only one of Harvey's boyfriends famous in his own right; he was in the Stonewall Riots and became a high-profile activist. Years later, the news that Mr. "I-Can't-Come-Out-It-Would-Kill-My-Parents" was running for office in San Francisco as an openly gay man was a shocker.

Jack Galen McKinley: 1963-1969?
Who: A drug-addled manwhore who was partially responsible for the birth of Harvey the Hippie.
Harvey's Age: Thirty-three to thirty-nine.

These two first got together when Jack was sixteen, but as one of the first things he told Harvey was "I came to New York so I could suck cock," this was hardly a seduction of the innocent. I'm not sure what the New York age of consent laws were like at the time (or the sodomy laws, for that matter), but if I was going to hate on Harvey for this, I'd have to start hating on several of my fandom ships. Besides, in my mind, though fourteen is too young, sixteen is another ballpark. Especially when said sixteen-year-old basically tells you his main goal in life is fellatio.


Jewish Christmas tree? Looks like Minnie's boy was going with a goy.


When they first got together Harvey was working on Wall Street, but by the end he had been fired for refusing to cut his hair and had become an all-out hippie. Jack did theatre work, which exposed Harvey to the counterculture, and, worryingly, Jack also did LSD, got drunk, slept around trying to make Harvey jealous, and threatened suicide. Around this time Joe, who Harvey still visited as a friend, actually attempted suicide, and Harvey tried to use it as an example of why Jack should hang on to that most-beloved-by-Harvey concept, hope. Trying to get Jack to stop being a promiscuous substance-abuser, Harvey, still on Wall Street at this point, got himself transferred to Dallas. Jack stuck it out a few weeks and then went back to New York. Besides Harvey's ability to make excuses for messed-up boyfriends (Anne Kronenberg researched alcoholism after his death and determined that he was a codependent), Harvey was also trying to make things work because Jack had a great butt. Such a great butt, as a matter of fact, that Harvey took loads of naked pictures of it and hung them up all around the apartment.

Joe Turner: 1967
Who: Cute blond Texas boy.
Harvey's Age: Thirty-seven.

With Jack McKinley back in New York being a ho, Harvey got with a guy in Dallas. This didn't turn out too well when Jack came back to Texas to visit, Joe Turner came by to discover that Jack had locked himself in the bathroom with a knife and was threatening suicide. The Harvey/Joe relationship ended when Harvey went back to New York.

Jack McKinely, Continued

Harvey got transferred back to New York, but he and Jack broke up over the appearance of...

Toast Guy, 1969

Short and not so sweet. Harvey and Jack went to a Cockettes performance, Harvey flirted with Toast Guy and took him home, Jack showed up in the middle of the night dripping wet from his latest suicide attempt. Then he promptly went nuts, started trying to hit Harvey, and could only be restrained when Harvey tied him up and threw him in a closet. The next morning Toast Guy was eating his piece of toast and Jack, newly untied, ordered him out. Apparently when it came to infidelity, he could dish it out but he couldn't take it.

Joseph Scott Smith: 1971-1976
Who: Mild Southern gentleman, political wife.
Harvey's Age: Forty-one to forty-six.

If you read any brief biographical paragraph or page of Harvey Milk's life, they all seem to mention "his partner, Scott Smith." Technically this was still true after they broke up, as they were still business partners in Castro Camera and friends. Scott was considered "Harvey's partner" so much that when Harvey died, two years after they'd broken up, Scott got worker's compensation death payments. But first, Scott was an actor from Mississippi who Harvey met at the Christopher Street Subway stop.


Your friendly neighborhood gay hippies.


Harvey got Scott into the next play that he and Jack McKinley were working on, called Inner City. While it was running Harvey moved to San Francisco, though Scott had to stay behind until the play's run was over. When it was done Harvey came back, they adopted The Kid, and spent nearly a year driving around California before they went to San Francisco and lived off income tax refunds while doing jigsaw puzzles all day. It was probably the last big rest-and-relaxation period of Harvey's life.


Awwwww.


Then they realized they needed money, opened a camera store, Harvey got into politics, and Scott managed Harvey's first campaigns as well as the cash register. From what I can tell, his life was pretty much Harvey-centered despite the fact that they were casually sleeping with other people. The casually sleeping with other people, however, may have been one of the things that distracted them from the fact that their relationship was having problems - basically, Harvey yelled a lot because he knew he could count on Scott still loving him no matter what. Which, despite the demise of the romance, seems to have been true in some way, shape, or form.


I think they should have tried to work things out. You don't find devotion like that every day.


Scott went on to be perhaps the best famous gay ex-boyfriend since Robbie Ross, Oscar Wilde's first male lover who stuck by him despite Bosie, three trials, prison, and even more Bosie. He inherited all of Harvey's stuff, which also included his debts, and despite the debts and the yelling, he still spent the rest of his life working to preserve Harvey's legacy. In case you can't tell, I'm pretty firmly in the Harvey/Scott camp. It helps that Scott didn't do stuff like show up drunk at public functions or threaten suicide.


I'd be willing to bet that right before they took this, one of them said, "Okay, now we're going to look creepy."


Random Men, Round Three: 1971? - 1978

So, Harvey and Scott show up on Castro Street. And it is filled with sexy gay men. And they're hippies. And Scott is cute and Harvey is charming. Basically, you could probably make a historically accurate porn film called Harvey and Scott Do Castro Street. Or at least that's the impression I get, anyway.

Jack Lira: 1977-1978
Who: Crazy alcoholic. Bad news. "The mistake."
Harvey's Age: Forty-seven to forty-eight.

They met when Jack was randomly staring through the front window of Castro Camera. Before long he was drinking Harvey's money, having weird temper fits, and getting depressed by watching Holocaust documentaries on TV. The guy didn't need Harvey, he needed hospitalization and detox. But Harvey had to keep trying to give him hope - that, and they had great sex, and Jack was someone Harvey could relax around. Until he started on the next embarrassing drinking binge, anyway.


As Michael says to Donald in The Boys In The Band, "You've had worse things in your mouth."


Jack was also a huge manipulator, as his suicide illustrates. He didn't just kill himself; he hanged himself and tried to time it so that when Harvey came home, it would be too late but Jack's legs would still be kicking. (Harvey was late.) Stuff like that is just creepy. Lest we doubt his intentions, he pinned a note on a curtain that read, "You've always loved the circus, Harvey. What do you think of my last act?" And he put notes all over the apartment - in books, in the seams of Harvey's underwear - that said things like, "You're a lousy lover, Harvey." In a spooky and Shakespearian twist, he taped a note to the wall that said "Beware Of The Ides Of November." Harvey was assassinated on November 27, 1978.

Bob Tuttle: 1978
Who: Harvey's out-of-town boyfriend.
Harvey's Age: Forty-eight.

Bob lived in Los Angeles and he and Harvey hooked up when Harvey was visiting friends there. The relationship started when Jack Lira was still alive and lasted until Harvey died.

Billy Wiegardt: 1978
Who: Harvey's roommate-with-benefits.
Harvey's Age: Forty-eight.

Harvey threw himself into an affair with Billy after Jack killed himself - he brought him flowers stolen from people's yards and moved him in less than a month after Jack died - but the passion burned out and they ended up as roommates, albeit the kind who sleep in the same bed and kiss each other goodbye and have sex when their other boyfriends aren't around. Strangely enough, Harvey didn't live with...

Doug Franks: 1978
Who: The last love of Harvey's life.
Harvey's Age: Forty-eight.

The third member of the trio of boyfriends Harvey was involved with at the same time after Jack Lira died, this is the one Harvey was the most crazy about. Two passages from The Mayor of Castro Street, one TMI and one poignant. In the first, Harvey invited Doug to go with him to a dinner for a Chinese organization, something Harvey had been invited to for political reasons.

"Harvey, this is like I'm going as your date."

Harvey pulled Doug aside and gave him careful instructions.

"Now remember, if anyone says one thing to you that is snotty or condescending, you have my permission to say this." Harvey changed his voice tone into a sprightly conversational cadence. "You say, 'No, no, no. You've got it all wrong. Harvey doesn't fuck me. I fuck Harvey.'"

The statement's accuracy did not convince Doug it was appropriate. "Harvey!" he answered incredulously. "I can't say that."

"No, say it," said Harvey grinning.


Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Whether Harvey Milk Ever Bottomed But Were Afraid To Ask. Now for the poignant one:

Harvey's affair with Doug Franks blossomed. Doug could hardly have found a more ardent suitor. The usual romantic trimmings of any Milk affair, love notes and freshly cut flowers, flowed in abundance. When the pair attended a musical revue doing a takeoff on a Casablanca love scene, Harvey leaned over to croon softly in Doug's ear "As Time Goes By" in harmony with the singers. For years, Harvey's life had been a web of loose ends; now they were coming together as he had always wanted them to. One night while making love, Harvey and Doug both spontaneously broke into tears. They never talked about why.

Doug was one of the last people to see Harvey alive. He was walking to the library when he ran into Harvey, who had taken a short break from work to go out and get breakfast. They had breakfast together and made plans for dinner. By the time Doug got back from the library, Harvey was dead.

Despite all this, Doug isn't listed in the Milk cast, which I think is unfair. Cut out the other two boyfriends Harvey had at the time, cut most of the random men he slept with, but don't cut out the man he loved when he died and saw less than an hour before his death, for God's sake.

Anyway, there it is, the most comprehensive list of Harvey Milk's boyfriends that I could manage. Politically-centered HM post may be coming soon.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
iluvshajalan
Oct. 24th, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)
I love these posts. Harvey sounded like such a laugh, my goodness. Not to mention a sexed-up sex haver.
marauderthesn
Oct. 25th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
LOL, I wanna start calling people sexed-up sex havers. :D I bet if Harvey were still alive he'd still be going at it like mad, although he'd be 78 and might have had to up his age bracket to, say, forty-somethings. ;)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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