Part 1: Our Hall of Fame
BY Advocate Contributors
March 14 2012 2:00 AM ET
Harvey Milk won election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in November 1977, becoming the first openly gay man elected to public office in Californa, and a hope to gay people who read the news all over the country.
Milk made three unsuccessful campaigns for office before finally winning. While in office, he successfully sponsored an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. But he was perhaps best known for his words, and the way he said them — with passion. He delivered his famous “Hope Speech” at the Gay Freedom Day Parade June 25, 1978, to a giant crowd, calling on gay people to come out of the closet and declaring, “I'm tired of the conspiracy of silence.”
Before being assassinated at age 48 by former supervisor Dan White in City Hall in 1978, Milk reiterated his call for gays and lesbians to come out. “If a bullet should enter my brain,” he said, “let that bullet also destroy every closet door in the country."