1930 - 1978
Harvey Milk was born in New York to Lithuanian parents. Harvey knew he was gay from a very young age. He attended teachers college, and after he graduated he enlisted in the navy. He worked as a diving instructor in San Diego, though resigned after he was officially asked about his sexuality. He then returned to New York and worked as a teacher, a stock analysist, and a production associate for Broadway musicals. Harvey became quite active in advocacy in the 1960’s and moved to San Francisco in 1972.
Due to Harvey's sense of humour, theatrical personality and due to him being his unapologetically authentic self, Harvey quickly became entwined in the local community and began chasing his dreams in politics. After many set backs, he won a spot on the Board of Supervisors in 1977. His inauguration made national and international headlines as it was a huge win for the LGBTQ+ community. In his 11 months in office Harvey did some wonderful work, he established day care centers for working mothers, he saw unused military building converted into low cost housing, though the achievement he is well known for is sponsoring a bill discriminating LGBTQ+ people, by allowing the refusal of public accommodations, housing and employment based on sexual orientation. Another huge win for LGBTQ+ community and his popularity was growing. He was a powerful advocate for not only the LGBTQ+ community but other minorities without a voice.
At a gay pride march, rallying against a proposal of mandated firings of gay teachers he has been famously quoted “Gay people, we will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets. … We are coming out to fight the lies, the myths, the distortions. We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it. You must come out´
His life was sadly cut short when he was assassinated by a former colleague. His murderer, Dan White, was acquitted of murder, convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to only 8 years prison. This injustice in sighted a riot at San Francisco city hall famously known as the white night riots.
Sean Pean stars in a biographical film on Harvey Milks life, “Milk” and is available to buy on amazon video for around $5. You can also visit the milk foundation website for more information;