- Category : 1930-births
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Sleeping Phoenix 2
American city government official who was shot and killed in San Francisco along with Mayor George Moscone. Milk was the first openly gay male elected to political office in a large, urban city. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he passed two laws in his short political career; a law that dog owners had to clean up after their pets and a law against anti-gay discrimination. In the early 1970s, Milk believed that the dismissal of gays in society occurred because of their invisibility. Milk campaigned for a seat on the Board of Supervisors by publicity stunts to get attention and name recognition.
Milk's family ran a successful retail clothing business on Long Island, NY. In high school, he played sports and loved to play jokes on his friends. While just a kid, Milk knew of his sexual proclivity. He liked to frequent the gay section of New York's Central Park. In 1947, at 17, Milk was arrested for taking off his shirt in the public park. In 1951, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Korean War.
Milk returned to New York to become a Wall Street financial analyst, however the financial world bored him. He campaigned for Barry Goldwater in the 1964 elections. He had many boyfriends and sexual partners in Greenwich Village but by the late 1960s grew tired of the radical scene. In 1972, Milk moved to San Francisco with his lover. The couple opened a camera shop in the Castro, an emerging gay center. In 1973, he made his first bid for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He made two more failed attempts until he finally gained his seat in the November elections of 1977.
As an openly gay political figure, Milk received many death threats. Trying to send a positive and credible image to the people of San Francisco, Milk changed his behavior of frequenting the gay bathhouses when he entered public life.
Milk had taken the vacated seat of Dan White, a troubled anti-gay conservative supervisor who had quit. White asked Mayor George Moscone to allow him to return to the Board with a raise. When Moscone refused his request, on 11/27/1978 White opened fire, shot and killed the mayor and put two bullets into the brain of Harvey Milk at San Francisco City Hall. Fellow supervisor Dianne Feinstein alerted the media about the tragedy. The city erupted in violence after Milk's death. White received a lenient sentence of five years in jail and parole.
The Times of Harvey Milk, a documentary film based on a book by Randy Stilts, won the 1984 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. In 2009, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger designated May 22 as "Harvey Milk Day", and inducted Milk in the California Hall of Fame. The biographical film Milk with Sean Penn in the title role was released in 2008 and received eight Oscar nominations.