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June 30, 2014

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HRC Statement on the Death of Frank M. Robinson, Speechwriter to Harvey Milk

WASHINGTON – In response to news of the death of Frank M. Robinson, science fiction writer, LGBT activist and speechwriter to San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Chad Griffin issued the following statement:

“Through his collaboration with Harvey Milk, Frank Robinson gave the LGBT movement its rhetorical backbone--and brought hope to countless LGBT Americans, especially young people, for the very first time. I was lucky to meet Frank on my very first week on the job as HRC president, and though we all mourn his passing today, we're overwhelmed with gratitude for his contributions to this fight for equality.”

Milk's speeches, famously immortalized and dramatized in the 2008 Gus Van Sant film Milk, but also recorded in the celebrated 1984 documentary The Times of Harvey Milk, were the first by an openly gay elected official to lay out the moral and political case for equality.

Dustin Lance Black, who grew close to Robinson while writing the screenplay for Milk, joined HRC in remembrance:

"For Frank, the word ‘hope’ was not a notion for our dreams, it was a bold call for immediate action in a time when it was illegal to be gay in every corner of this nation. He offered Harvey his strength, wit and wisdom. He shared the same with me, still grimacing at the idea of partial equality and patience. He felt strongly that what he called a ‘checkerboard nation’ of contradictory laws still denied LGBT young people the hope and pride he so desperately wanted for them. So each time we spoke, he'd end with, ‘Fight on.’”

When Milk's life was cut short by an assassin's bullet in 1978, Robinson continued a distinguished career as a writer and author. Three of Robinson's novels were made into films or television series during his lifetime.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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