We take a moment to celebrates the achievements of Harvey Milk, a gay rights activist who was assassinated in 1978.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in a major city in the US, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1977-1978. His life and political career embody the rise of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights movement.
While in office, Milk worked to pass a gay rights ordinance and defeat Proposition 6, commonly known as the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. Milk encouraged LGBT people to be visible in society and believed in achieving social equality.
Milk was assassinated in 1978 by Dan White, a former colleague on the Board of Supervisors whose politics often clashed with Milk’s. On October 11, 2009, Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established Harvey Milk Day to be held as a significant observance on May 22, which is Milk’s birthday. Harvey Milk Day is marked as a special day of significance in schools across the state.
Deborah Batts – 1994 was the first openly gay or lesbian United States federal judge (United States District Court for the Southern District of New York)
Lea DeLaria is an American comedian, actress, and jazz singer. DeLaria is credited with being the first openly gay comic to appear on a late-night talk show with her 1993 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show. She is best known for her portrayal of inmate Carrie “Big Boo” Black on Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black.
In December 1993 Lea DeLaria hosted Comedy Central’s Out There, the first all-gay stand-up comedy special.
The first Dyke March (a march for lesbians and their straight female allies, planned by the Lesbian Avengers in 1993) was held in Washington, D.C., with 20,000 women marching
Althea Garrison was elected as the first transgender state legislator in America, and served one term in the Massachusetts House of Representatives; however, it was not publicly known she was transgender when she was elected.
The first Southern Comfort Conference was held. The Southern Comfort Conference is a major transgender conference that takes place annually in Atlanta, Georgia. It is the largest, most famous, and pre-eminent such conference in the United States.
The first lesbian kiss on television occurred in 1991; it was on L.A. Law between the fictional characters of C.J. Lamb (played by Amanda Donohoe) and Abby (Michele Greene).
Marcella Di Folco – world’s first openly transgender person to be elected for an administrative role, as municipal Councillor in Bologna, Italy 1990.
Denmark 1989 – first country to legally recognize same-sex registered partnership.
Dallas S. Drake – first openly gay firefighter (Fire Motor Operator) in 1989 in the upper Midwest (Burnsville Fire Department, Burnsville, Minnesota).