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Dustin Lance Black delivers powerful rendition of Harvey Milk’s historic ‘I Want To Recruit You’ speech

It is by no means a glass-half-full performance.

By Thomas Stichbury

Dustin Lance Black reminds us of the power of words to ignite change with an impassioned reading of Harvey Milk’s “I Want To Recruit You” speech.

The filmmaker and LGBTQ activist won an Oscar in 2009 for his screenplay Milk, a biopic of Harvey starring Sean Penn – and he once more pays tribute to the trail-blazing American politician for Attitude’s Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley.

Turning back the clock, Dustin, 46, reads aloud excerpts from Harvey’s rallying cry for his “gay brothers and sisters” to come out of the closet at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco in 1978.

The former teacher urged the LGBTQ community to fight bigotry and stand up for their constitutional rights, under threat from anti-gay campaigns led by political rival John Briggs and singer Anita Bryant.

“Gay people, we will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets,” Dustin begins. “We are coming out.”

He continues: “We’re coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions… I’m tired of the conspiracy of silence.”

“Come out to your parents,” Dustin recites. “I know that it is hard and that it will hurt them, but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth.”

Harvey – the first openly gay elected official in the history of California – was assassinated on 28 November, 1978, at the age of 48.

Dr Ranj Singh, TV’s Judge Rob Rinder, poet Dean Atta, Little Mix favourite Jade Thirlwall and actor Simon Callow will also be appearing in Speaking of Pride, empowered by Bentley.

Watch on and YouTube.