Harvey Milk
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Harvey Milk

Milk

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About Him

Grew Up… in New York in the 1930s and ‘40s. The mid-twentieth century was not a good time to be a closeted gay man. Harvey drifted through the military and several jobs in New York’s insurance industry before moving to San Francisco.

Living… in the Castro district of San Francisco. Formerly a conservative Irish-Catholic neighborhood, the Castro is the center of gay counterculture in the 1970s. As Harvey explains, “Even though the Castro was firmly our area by 1973 it wasn’t safe for us. We would have to wear whistles on our necks or in our pockets and if you ever heard a whistle you would run for help.”

Profession… politician. Harvey never saw himself as someone who could hold political office, until it became necessary to protect his people from the anti-gay campaigner, Anita Bryant.

Interests… theater and activism. Harvey knows that the best way to promote gay rights is to make the gay community visible. As he puts it, “Politics is theater. It doesn’t matter if you win. You make a statement. You say, ‘I’m here. Pay attention to me.’”

Relationship Status… involved with Scott Smith, a politically active man who inspired Harvey to run for office. Without Scott, Harvey may not be able to make a difference.

Challenge… giving the American homosexual community a voice. Even though Harvey is only running in a local San Francisco election, gay people across the United States are looking to him for hope. The revolution could start in the Castro area and expand eastward.

Personality… kind, and courageous. Harvey is an incredibly dedicated man. It takes an abnormal amount of patience, bravery, and understanding to be an openly gay man in politics. He ends up devoting his entire life to the pursuit of politics that will serve the gay community.

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