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Harvey Milk: The First Openly Gay Politician in California

Today, when the gay culture has become more mainstream than ever before, it would be easy to minimize the contributions of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay political supervisor in California.

Originally from New York and a U.S. Navy veteran, Milk moved to San Francisco in 1972 and started Castro Camera in The Castro, one of the nation’s largest gay communities, which had no representation in government.

Castro Camera was successful, but Milk wanted to do more for the community.

Through his leadership, Castro Camera became a community center of political awareness and activism. He ran for the San Francisco City-County Board of Supervisors, finally winning election on his third try in 1977.

But tragically, Dan White, a fellow city supervisor, murdered Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in City Hall in 1978.

White recieved an obscenely short sentence after using the infamous “Twinkie Defense,” claiming his mind was altered by eating too much junk food, and the murders and their aftermath left a scar on the city and the gay community.

Harvey Milk is remembered not just for his untimely death but for contributions to organizing the Castro and gay communities.

The movie “Milk” describes the life and events of Harvey Milk, offering a history that reminds us of the past and to be understanding of everyone, in the city of San Francisco and beyond.