The United States Navy will name a ship for the gay rights icon Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, according to a report by US Naval Institute (USNI) News.
LGBT activists in San Diego and San Francisco had campaigned for the Navy to honor Milk and other LGBT individuals who have served in the armed forces despite being officially banned until 2011.
Milk served as a diving officer from 1951 to 1955. He was honorably discharged with the rank of lieutenant junior grade.
“When Harvey Milk served in the military, he couldn’t tell anyone who he truly was”, said San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener, who authored a resolution asking the Navy to name a ship after Milk in 2012. “Now our country is telling the men and women who serve, and the entire world, that we honor and support people for who they are”, he added.
Milk moved to San Francisco in 1972, where he lived in the Castro district, owned a camera shop, and advocated for the rights of LGBT people in the growing gay neighborhood. In 1977, he won his election to the San Francisco board of supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in California. One year later, Milk was killed in San Francisco city hall by a former supervisor who also killed the mayor, George Moscone.
Milk in 1954, when he served as a diving officer in the Navy