PRIDE FACT 4
Who was Harvey Milk?
Harvey Milk was a visionary civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk’s unprecedented loud and unapologetic proclamation of his authenticity as an openly gay candidate for public office, and his subsequent election gave never before experienced hope to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people everywhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination. His remarkable career was tragically cut short when he was assassinated nearly a year after taking office. Harvey Milk believed that government should represent individuals, not just downtown interests, and should ensure equality for all citizens while providing needed services. He spoke for the participation of LGBT people and other minorities in the political process. The more gay people came out of the closet, he believed, the more their families and friends would support protections for their equal rights. In the years since Milk’s assassination, public opinion has shifted on gay marriage, gays in the military, and other issues, and there have been hundreds of openly LGBT public officials in America, yet the work continues.