Gay school's students get a history lesson with 'Milk'





Gay students who attend this cozy third-floor Greenwich Village high school did not live through the launch of the national gay rights movement, which unfolded a few blocks away, and until recently many knew little about the man their school was named after: Harvey Milk.

But the new movie "Milk," on the life of one of the first openly gay politicians to hold office in the United States, has given students at the nation's first public school dedicated to teaching gay, lesbian and transgender youths a glimpse into the leader's legacy, connecting them to a history many never knew.

"When it finished, I just felt so proud that I go to his school," said Matthew "Matty" Agostini, 18, who watched an advance screening with classmates from Harvey Milk High School. "After he died, when they showed the people marching and there was a long line of people holding candles, I remember thinking if I was there, I would have been walking too."

Orville Bell, a teacher at the school, said after watching the movie, "I almost felt like screaming into the audience, 'I teach at that school!' "

Harvey Milk High School opened more than two decades ago as a privately funded program. In 2003, the New York City Board of Education expanded public funding to the campus and doubled its enrollment. Nearly 100 students now attend, including a few straight students, although most are gay and transferred from campuses where they faced discrimination and harassment because of their sexuality. ...


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