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After unsuccessfully running for political office a handful of times in the early '70s, New York native Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. The first openly gay politician in the U.S., Milk was the prime mover behind a stringent gay rights ordinance in that city.

Daniel Nicoletta

After unsuccessfully running for political office a handful of times in the early '70s, New York native Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. The first openly gay politician in the U.S., Milk was the prime mover behind a stringent gay rights ordinance in that city.


Harvey Milk’s Living Legacy

Memories of the Past and Lessons for the Future


Thirty years ago, Harvey Milk-the first openly gay person to ever hold a significant elected office-was assassinated while sitting at his desk in San Francisco City Hall. The new film Milk is a testament to the gay rights icon’s living legacy, and goes to show that while we’ve made much progress, the fight for truly equal civil rights is still very much an ongoing battle. That reality was driven home last month, when California voters narrowly approved Prop. 8, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that opponents say is nothing short of outright bigotry.

To reflect on Harvey Milk’s message and his continuing meaning for the 21st century, we present this collection of stories. They include former San Francisco Chronicle reporter and editor Jerry Roberts remembering his role in covering Milk’s rise to power during the 1970s; the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s director Roger Durling chatting with Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black about the film and Prop. 8; and our Gay Girl/Straight World columnist Penny Patterson explaining why she cried during the movie’s happy parts. Lastly, attorney and former political operative Benjamin Bycel reflects on the other great man assassinated on the same day, the popular and progressive San Francisco mayor George Moscone, and explains why his message, like Milk’s, is as relevant as ever.

Harvey & Dan: That ‘70s Show - The Path from Neighborhood Politics to the Assassination of an Icon byJerryRoberts

Memories of George Moscone - A Former Friend of the Assassinated San Francisco Mayor Reflects

by Benjamin Bycel

More Harvey Milks - An Interview with Dustin Lance Black, Screenwriter of Milk

byRoger Durling

Crying in the Happy Parts - Our Gay Girl Watches Milk

by Penny Patterson

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