Winds on Castro Street December-1978 (c) Jerry Pritikin
Jerry with Harvey Milk-1978 Photo Credit: Danny Nicoletta
I am 73 years old, and have voted for over 50 years, in that time I have never been asked to participate in one poll! I really don't give a crap at poll results, period. They don't reflect me, or how I vote. Next to all those negative ads, the thing I hate about elections, are the dam polls! In the 50s, I heard about the Jewish Vote, and later the black vote, and now the gays votes. Let's face facts... the only vote that count are those in the ballot box. I was involved in the early gay politics in San Francisco... and you know what I found OUT, that gay's are no different than any other voting group.
When Harvey Milk was running against a non-gay, married lawyer... who was a freedom rider in the south during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and defended G.I.s who did not want to return to the Vietnam war, and was a resident of District 5 for most of his adult life. Even though I was Jewish and openly gay like Harvey...and a friend of Harvey Milk... I supported Terry Hallinan, over Harvey Milk, because he was more qualified to serve most of the citizens and businesses in the District. There were 2 gay newspapers, and they supported Harvey, because he was gay. After Harvey was elected and then assassinated in November of 1978, there was a group from the "Gay Democratic Club" putting out flyer's asking that the gay community get behind Harvey's Campaign Manager and City Hall Aid, Ann Kronenberg to replace Harvey's seat on the Board of Supervisors.. It was signed by their President, Harry Britt. Terry and I both supported this campaign. Some how, after meeting with Mayor Feinstein.... guess who was appointed? Harry Britt! Terry Hallinan had agreed to be Harvey's Co-Chairman for the next election... because Harvey was doing a good job representing the District. However, Terry decided to re-run for the "Open" District 5 Supervisor's seat. The "Gay Democratic Club, changed it's name to the "Harvey Milk Democratic Club", and one of the their first campaign brochures asked the question "Who needs a gay Supervisor? and on the inside it said "We Do!" Can you imagine what would of happened if Terry, put out a brochure asking "Who needs a "straight" Supervisor? We do!" Terry chose the Campaign Slogan "UNITED WE STAND", and The Bay Area Reported gay newspaper claimed that it was "Overtly" anti-gay, as well as Terry,was too for using it. I took the time to write a "Letter to the Editor" why I supported Terry Hallinian. Above my name they boldly printed "GAYS FOR HOMOPHOBIA", and deleted the 2 main paragraphs from my letter. When B.A.R. came OUT for their support of Harry Britt... Guess what HEADLINE they used? "UNITED WE STAND", the same paper that said, Terry was anti-gay for using it! I used to go with Terry, when he spoke to groups that supported candidates with endorsements. One of those groups was the Young California Gay Republicans... that later changed their name to "Log Cabin Republicans". While Terry was talking to their Board... at one of their club meetings, I struck up a conversation with a very good looking 18 year old... this was not long after that 18 year old got to vote. We were talking about everything but politics, when another person joined in our conversation without being invited, and proclaimed that he had just got talking with Jerry Pritikin (me) and added... you know, the anti-gay queer, who is supporting the anti-gay Terry Hallinan, and at that point, I turned to the young man and extended my hand and said"My name is Jerry Pritikin", and then turned to the other guy, and said "What else did I have to say?"... he then turned and left... Terry was elected Supervisor several years later, and then elected twice as San Francisco's District Attorney. In his administration, he hired over 40 openly gay lawyers and workers... remember, this is the same guy who was branded "Anti-Gay"!
President Harry Truman said "That if you can't stand the heat of a political kitchen, stay out!" Frankly, I don't mind the heat... it is the lies that are flung during election time. Like I said... the only vote that matters to me, is my vote. In those 50's years since I started to vote... I discovered that gays are no different than any other group. They consist of bigots, that includes Hetero-phobes, as well as all religions, Atheist , people of all sizes(pun intended)and colors, left wingers, right wingers and you,too! (if you are gay)... Hey, if your not...we all can't be perfect!