Harvey Milk stamp unveiled: LGBT activist honoured at the White House

A giant version of the black-and-white portrait image of Milk, issued by the American Postal Service, was unveiled at a ceremony at the White House

Harvey Milk, who was one of the first openly gay elected politicians in the US before he was murdered in 1978, has been honoured with a new US postage stamp.

A giant version of the black-and-white portrait image of Milk, issued by the American Postal Service, was unveiled at a ceremony at the White House yesterday (22 May) on the annually celebrated Harvey Milk Day.

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Milk was shot dead by a fellow supervisor just a year after he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Powers, told the audience in attendance at the stamp’s unveiling that there were still seven countries in the world where it was legal to execute people for being gay, and called for further advancements in gay rights.

“While we now do live in an age where the National Football League has for the first time drafted an openly gay man [Michael Sam], we still live in an age where the NFL can fire him for being gay,” she said.

“Postage stamps will not change that, legislation will.”

She also expressed her support for new legislation that would make it illegal for workplaces to discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the US House of Representatives, spoke about what she remembered from attending Milk’s funeral in 1978.

She said: “I thought, is this how it ends? But it really was just the beginning.”

The original image was shot by photographer Daniel Nicoletta of Grants Pass. Antonio Alcala was the art director for the stamp.

During his 11 months in office, Milk passed a landmark gay rights ordinance for the city, despite the widespread hostility and discrimination the LGBT community faced at the time.

His first posthumous honour was awarded to Milk by President Barack Obama in 2009 in the form of the Medal of Freedom.

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