Meet maudern mavericks, a series that highlights the people who have pioneered sex education and reproductive and civil rights. Meet the pioneering Harvey Milk, a prominent and political voice of homosexuality in America.
May 22, 1930, Woodmere, NY
First openly gay elected official in California who served in San Francisco. His position while being openly gay was wildly controversial, however, opened the conversation for future leaders who were out.
Milk began his career in the military in the US Navy during the Korean War aboard a submarine ship. After being discharged, he returned to his native New York where he began working as a high school teacher. It was then he started an open romantic relationship with Joe Campbell after meeting him at a popular gay beach in queens.
He moved around the country pursuing different careers and different lovers—working as an actuarial statistician in insurance and landing on Wall Street as a researcher. His technical skills led him to a job on a presidential campaign for Barry Goldwater.
He moved to San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood with his boyfriend a younger Jack McKinley and started working at an investment bank. He was fired for his radical long hair and opened a camera store. But his true interests lay in the political scene. His interest had peeked through early exposure to discrimination in New York and further run-ins with cultural negativity towards the gay community. He was polarizing to the community with his fiery speeches and tough views but received a fair amount of attention.