Harvey Milk Day in the OC? And did Janet really rush out of the BOS meeting to avoid hearing about it?




“If a Bullet Should Enter My Brain,
Let That Bullet Destroy Every Closet Door in the Country.”

So, a bunch of our gay OC citizens have been trying to get the Board of Supervisors to declare May 20 Harvey Milk Day in this county – something that wouldn’t cost us anything but would mean a lot to our gay OC citizens (and the rest of us who care about equality and diversity.)  They’re not getting much response though – these five bozos on the Board seem to generally subscribe, or pretend to subscribe, to some sort of outdated school of Christianity – the stick-up-the-ass kind which condemns homosexuality as both icky and damnable.  You might think Shawn would be a little hipper, but I haven’t really noticed my cousin get near to any sort of controversy since joining the Board.

But the question, as posed in the title, should be addressed:  Why did Janet Nguyen leave the dais so abruptly for twenty minutes in the midst of these comments?  Was it a gesture of homophobic disgust, as was the impression of the Weekly‘s Matt Coker, as well as the gay blog Queerty, which went on to theorize that she was phoning her girlfriend or something?  Not at all, according to my good friend, Huntington Beach Councilman Joe Shaw, who is the county’s only openly gay elected official, it wasn’t quite that bad.  Janet, who’s recently given birth, just had to go breast-feed her baby.  And that seems entirely appropriate, as – alone among the surly supes – she had Milk on her Mind.

God, did I write that?  I’d better leave you with a grownup:  Here are Joe’s comments to the Board –


Good morning supervisors,

My name is Joe Shaw and I am a Huntington Beach city Councilman. I come to speak to you today about Harvey Milk Day, celebrated on May 20.

When I first moved to Huntington Beach with my partner eight years ago, we opened a business downtown and at once we were warmly embraced by the people of downtown Huntington Beach, our customers and people from all over the city. I have always been grateful for the friendly people in Huntington Beach and how they accepted my partner and I unconditionally and without judgment. I looked at my beautiful city and its wonderful people and knew I had found a new home.

In November, it didn’t matter to the voters of Huntington Beach that I am openly gay, because they know I share their values: hard work, a sense of community and the spirit of involvement that have built our great city.

Now I’m the only openly gay elected official in Orange County, and I acknowledge that because I know it makes a difference in many people’s lives to know that this is possible in Huntington Beach and in Orange County. LGBT families share the same values as the rest of the families in our city and county.

40 years ago, that’s how Harvey Milk lived his life: he believed that if LGBT people would simply proclaim their identity to their family, friends and neighbors, it would cause a sea change in the way people perceive us. And he was right.

That’s why I’m here today. I ask you to officially recognize Harvey Milk Day. In a county so beautiful and diverse, please let our LGBT families know that we appreciate and support their presence in our communities. It will mean a lot to the thousands of LGBT people who, like many of us, volunteer in their schools and community and who give so much back to the county they live in.

Thanks so much for your consideration.

Anyways, as Coker wrote last week, “With or without the official blessing of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, a Harvey Milk Day celebration will he held Friday, May 20, at French Plaza in downtown Santa Ana. A pre-show begins at 5 p.m., the main event starts at 7 p.m. and birthday cake will be shared at 8:30 p.m. The committee claims 24 organizations and businesses are sponsoring the event.”

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.