Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black — LGBT History Month Day 5


Today’s LGBT History Month icon is award winning screenwriter and LGBT rights campaigner Dustin Lance Black.

Born June 10, 1974,  Black won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009 for the film “Milk,”  a biopic about openly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

Biography via Equality Forum:

Black grew up in a devout Mormon household in San Antonio, Texas. After his mother remarried, he moved to Salinas, California. As a young boy, Black knew he was gay. He believed he would be “hurt and brought down” because of it and that he was going to hell. He says his “acute awareness” of his sexual orientation made him gloomy and sometimes suicidal.

In high school he fostered a love of the dramatic arts and began working on theatrical productions. He enrolled at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and graduated with honors. In 2000, he wrote and directed two gay-themed films, “The Journey of Jared Price” and “Something Close to Heaven.” Black was the only Mormon writer for the HBO series about polygamy, “Big Love,” for which he received two Writers Guild of America Awards.

Captivated by the story of Harvey Milk, Black researched Milk’s life for three years, culminating in a screenplay. Academy Award-nominated director Gus Van Sant signed on with the project. In 2009, “Milk” received eight Academy Award nominations and won two. Black received an Oscar for his screenplay and Sean Penn won for best actor.

Black’s recent works include the screenplay for “Pedro,” profiling AIDS activist and MTV personality Pedro Zamora. He is the screenwriter for “J. Edgar,” a film about FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 2009, Black topped The Advocate’s list of the “Forty under 40″ most influential openly gay people. He is an outspoken LGBT activist, serving on the boards of The Trevor Project and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Black frequently speaks about gay rights to college students across the country.

He resides in Los Angeles.

Upon winning an Academy award in 2009 Black gave the following memorable and very moving speech:

Black’s Notable Works Include:



Image taken from LGBT History Month video, no infringement intended.

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Tom Y.
Tom Y.4 years ago


Thanks for posting this link: the moral drift this country's on has been planned, with the destruction of the greatest, most free and open way of life in history as its goal.

And for what?!

Dustin Lance Black rightly calls America "this great nation" -- but from inside a very insular minority perspective. As painful as he might find "Grinding America Down," he too needs to grapple with its contention of enemies within the gates. And I hope he chooses to stand against them.

Elizabeth K.
Elizabeth K.4 years ago

Yep, it is the ignorant, hater Steve R whose comments are not wanted here.

Good job Steve W

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.4 years ago


Jane H.
Jane H.4 years ago

@Chris M. Please get to know some LGBT people and some family members of LGBT people.....find a Parents Families and Friends of LGBT meeting close to you and start a wonderful new adventure in your life--it will be enriched and you 'll be happier!

Penny C.
Penny C.4 years ago


Joan E.
Joan E.4 years ago

I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Black talk about writing MILK at a Hollywood screening of the film shortly before it opened nationwide. More power to him.

Dan(iel) M.
Dan(iel) M.4 years ago

Thanks for posting Steve.

Also ignore ignorant comments from the likes of Chris M.

Keep up the great work on writing the articles you do.

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Chris M.
Chris M.4 years ago

Steve - you really ought to spend time amongst your ilk because you're not wanted here.

A.J. A.
Past Member 4 years ago

Mr. Black is another icon of hope for young LGBTQ persons; may he live long and continue to prosper.