Saturday, June 7, 2014

Postal Pride

Guess what I got at the post office today?

mail experiment 1

That's right. I got a sheet of Harvey Milk stamps.

I'm not sure how these are being sold or distributed at your post office, but I wasn't sure if they even had them at mine. The counter at my post office has a little display board that says, "The following stamps are available" and shows one of each stamp the post office allegedly has for sale. I checked the board by the first clerk and didn't see the stamp, so I checked the board by the other window and didn't see it there, either. Finally, I asked.

"Oh. Oh, yes, we have those."

They just don't advertise it or display them where any of the other stamps are. You have to go to the counter and ask for them, like a 1950's teenager buying condoms at a drug store, but I refuse to be ashamed. I asked if they had the Harvey Milk stamps in a voice deliberately loud enough for the entire room and entire line to hear, and I got my stamps.

You may have heard that this particular stamp has not been without controversy. Reactions from my friends have included, "Who's Harvey Milk?" and also "Why is it a big deal that he got a stamp?" I'm not going to answer the first one, because I assume your Google isn't broken, but I will answer the second one: It is a big deal because it says that gay people matter. It says that our contributions to society are important. It says that someday, any one of us could be on a stamp, just like any other important American.

It is a big deal because it says, in a small way, that we are equal.

Everyone isn't happy with this, of course. There's been the usual grumblings about deviants and perverts and agendas and lifestyles, and the loudest grumble came from the American Family Association, which urged their members to mark any mail featuring the stamp "Return to Sender". Their full press release is included in that link, as well as their letter to their members. It advises them to "Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write ‘Return to Sender” on the envelope and tell your postman you won’t accept it."

OK, AFA. I'll call your bluff.

Now that I have my stamps, I went to the AFA website, and was advised that donations could be mailed to this address:

mail experiment 2

I've prepared a card:

mail experiment 3

mail experiment 4

And I've used one of my stamps:

mail experiment 5

Your move, American Family Association.


Jeannie said...

Ooh, keep us posted on if it comes back! Love this idea!!

Justin Bower said...

If it comes back, you should put it in a bigger envelope, write "DONATION" on it in big letters, and then send it back with another Milk stamp.

See how many times you can get them to Return to Sender.

My guess, sadly, is it will disappear into the nether regions of their mail system.

Wall-O-Withnail said...

This is a great project. Can't wait to see if it comes back to you. What complete twats they are. I would probably start requesting subscription information from all the gay magazines online, and giving them the AFA address.

Keep us posted!

P.S. What did you think of the movie? We watched it and thought it was pretty good. And now we know who Harvey Milk is. I have to say I didn't until I watched the movie. But at least I'm willing to learn.

nan said...

Great post. I will check the Cortland, NY PO to see if they have Harvey.

leonor said...

I will buy you a sheet of those stamps to help you continue your efforts.