HRC Blog

LGBT History Month Spotlight: Harvey Milk

This post comes from HRC Editorial and Digital Media Intern Leanne Naramore:

As we continue to honor LGBT history this month, we remember a man whose life made an immeasurable impact on the fight for human equality.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected into public office in California. He was elected to serve as San Francisco City Supervisor in 1977. During his term, he worked tirelessly to end discriminatory legislation and to foster community dialogue that would build a safer and more equal San Francisco. Milk’s hunger for equality applied to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, age, ability or income.

Anne Kronenburg, Milk’s final campaign manager and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, once described how Milk possessed not only the hope for a more equal future, but also the drive to take action: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us.”

Milk was assassinated along with Mayor George Mosconeon Nov. 28, 1978, less than a year into his term.

Not only did he pave a path for other LGBT people to live openly, but Harvey Milk also consistently fought for legislation that would end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. His legacy continues to motivate advocates working towards equal civil rights, and we remember his sacrifices this LGBT History Month.

HRC President Chad Griffin gathered with LGBT equality advocates at Harvey Milk’s historic camera shop in San Francisco this summer. Among those in attendance were Anne Kronenburg, civil rights leader Cleve Jones, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter of the film Milk Dustin Lance Black. The discussion at the event revolved around how to address issues facing LGBT youth in California and around the country.

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