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by Lis Armstrong October 03, 2020

This October we're celebrating LGBT History Month with the latest Bar of the Month.

We're tipping our chefs hats to community icon Harvey Milk, with a limited edition bar of the month we're calling Harvey 'Almond' Milk.

 

Who was Harvey Milk?

Harvey was America's first openly gay politician and gay rights activist.

Born in New York, he was quick witted and athletic, served as a Navy diver, then worked as a financial analyst on Wall St.

 

Mayor of Castro Street

After moving to San Francisco with his partner, Harvey became an increasingly effective community activist and coalition builder, affectionately known as the Mayor of Castro Street.

His appointment to the Board of Supervisors (similar to City Council) in 1977 made him American's first openly gay elected official. He ran on a platform of community and equality: providing low-income housing, day care for working mothers, free public transport, small business tax reform and community oversight of police.

 

Political contributions

During his almost eleven months serving, Harvey delivered significant legislative wins. He spearheaded an important bill banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, with just one dissenting vote, the man who would later become his assassin. This bill remains America's strongest gay-rights legislation to date.

Milk also successfully campaigned against the introduction of Proposition 6, which failed in its attempt to ban gay teachers and allies from working in Californian schools.

 

Assassination

Harvey Milk's service was tragically cut short at just under eleven months when, on 7 November 1978, he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated. The assassin was a former colleague, and the single dissenting vote against Milk's anti-discrimination bill.

 

Honouring Harvey Milk's legacy

Milk had previously commissioned Gilbert Baker to create the first rainbow Pride Flag (originally the 8 colours shown above), as a fresh, positive symbol to unite the community. Following his death, the flag was torn in two and hung either side of Castro Street in mourning.

Today, Harvey's life is honoured through public spaces carrying his name including a park, school and Navy ship. In 2009 and national day (22 May, Milk's birthday). In 2009, Harvey's birthday was formally recognized in California as Harvey Milk Day (22 May), and he was posthumously honoured with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

 

We're honoured to recognise Harvey Milk, and more LGBT icons, through October.

 

Learn more about Harvey Milk

Watch the movie Milk staring Sean Penn, on streaming services including Stan and Prime.

Or read this history.com feature.

 

Who is your favourite LGBT icon?

Right through LGBT History Month, we'll be featuring some of our favourite community icons on social media. Is there an icon you'd love to see us include? Please let us know!




Lis Armstrong
Lis Armstrong

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