FROM: The Office Of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education
RE: Celebrate LGBT History Month- October 1 - 31st- Let Your Pride SHINE! Harvey Milk
Sent: 10/3/2019 10:39:21 AM
To: Students



Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk was a gay activist, “Mayor of Castro Street,” and the first out politician to be elected in the United States. He grew up in a Jewish family in New York. He taught high school, served in the Navy, and worked on Wall Street. He also pursued a number of relationships, but he was careful to keep his sexuality a secret. In 1969, Milk first moved to San Francisco, and more specifically to Castro Street. Milk became more and more frustrated with the policies and priorities of the city, and he decided to run for city supervisor. He whipped up support in the community with his friendly personality and an energetic campaign. He lost twice. In 1977, it was decided that supervisors should be elected from within each neighborhood instead of city-wide. With a backdrop of anti-gay legislation cropping up around the country, Harvey Milk was elected on a platform of small business rights and gay liberation. He became a close ally of Mayor George Moscone, and accomplished as much as he could during his short time in office. He sponsored a bill that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. He was also instrumental in voting down a proposition that would ban gay people from teaching, and that year at Gay Pride, he famously urged folks across the country to come out of the closet. Tragically, only 10 months after his swearing in, Harvey Milk along with Mayor Moscone were both assassinated by fellow supervisor Dan White. The city was devastated, but that devastation turned to outrage when White was sentenced to only seven years in prison. His lawyer had argued diminished capacity because, as a white Catholic firefighter, White didn’t “seem” like the type who would kill in cold blood, and furthermore he had been binging on junk food the night before, which was dubbed the “Twinkie defense.” The verdict was met with rioting in the streets. Milk himself had been aware of the risk of assassination, and left behind a recording of his wishes in that event, adding, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” He has since become an icon of queer political action. ~B. Toth

To learn more about Harvey Milk, visit: