Donna Rozar, a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, demonstrated her lack of knowledge about LGBTQ+ history when she suggested that famed gay politician Harvey Milk is a fictional character.
You can watch what went down in the video below.
Donna Rozar, Wisconsin Assembly member and author of a homophobic education bill, thinks Harvey Milk is a fictional… https://t.co/SCX53OGZCl— Timothy Burke (@Timothy Burke) 1631825351.0
The incident took place during a public hearing concerning AB 562, Republican-backed legislation that would empower parents to remove their children from lessons that discuss sexuality and gender.
Rozar co-authored the bill and has gone on record with her desire for schools to notify parents in advance if they're going to talk about these subjects.
That desire formed the basis of a question from Democratic Representative Sondy Pope, who asked Rozar if she wanted parents to be notified before students learned about Harvey Milk:
"So if there is a book in the library that students can read or are going to be part of a history project about Harvey Milk, do the parents need to be notified that Harvey Milk is going to be mentioned in a book that they're going to be reading about American... people in America?"
"Famous people? He's got a stamp, you know."
To that, Rozar responded with an awkward laugh:
"I'm not familiar… is that a real person? I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with him."
Rozar's lack of knowledge about LGBTQ+ history is really quite telling.
Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
His biggest legislative success was a bill banning discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment on the basis of sexual orientation.
In 1978, a mere 11 months after taking office, he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, a former city supervisor.
White ultimately served just five years of a seven-year prison sentence after he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter rather than first-degree murder before dying by suicide in 1985.
Outrage over White's sentencing kicked off the White Night riots, a landmark moment in the gay rights movement, as gay rights activists clashed with San Francisco police.
Milk's life and death were dramatized in Gus Van Sant's 2008 biopic, Milk, which won actor Sean Penn the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Rozar was abruptly criticized, with many pointing out that her reaction to Pope's question is exactly why students should learn about Milk in school.
@bubbaprog If there’s any ever an example of why he does need to be taught about this is it— WSoxUK (@WSoxUK) 1631825842.0
I dont know how but there has to be a way of making sure these kinds of people dont stumble into leadership https://t.co/2yZOfPWctf— 🌧🌩️ (@🌧🌩️) 1631938338.0
The ignorance would be funnier if she didn’t have the power to turn it into law. https://t.co/SGKL6WfEKf— WORKER-19: Pass The PRO Act Now (@WORKER-19: Pass The PRO Act Now) 1631890276.0
Dear goodness this is embarrassing. Hey GOP read a book on something other than how to be autocrats. https://t.co/2XTMJ1YY6i— Joe Rinka (@Joe Rinka) 1631892280.0
Meet @DonnaRozar, elected official in Wisconsin... Has no knowledge of history, literally asked if Harvey Milk 'wa… https://t.co/J5ddwQ3Cmz— 𝕁𝕀𝕄𝔹𝕆 (@𝕁𝕀𝕄𝔹𝕆) 1631903280.0
"Is that a real person?" Harvey Milk. Are you kidding me? Thanks Donna. Ugh. https://t.co/UVnIhmz0Fk— Kevin Murphy (@Kevin Murphy) 1631895420.0
Read a book (or watch a movie), @DonnaRozar https://t.co/ij7cwUSRTh— Drew Hamm (@Drew Hamm) 1631825961.0
Forget for a moment that we need to justify why historical figures need to be represented in American history. Wis… https://t.co/faLj3IIY1I— Dennis Jenders (@Dennis Jenders) 1631890226.0
Rozar has not responded to the blowback.
As for AB 562, the office of Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, has indicated he will not sign it into law.