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SAN DIEGO: Construction Begins on Historic Naval Vessel USNS Harvey Milk

At a ceremony at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego on Friday, the “first cut” of steel was rendered for the Navy’s newest ship the USNS Harvey Milk named after the famous slain gay civil rights leader and San Francisco Supervisor in the 70s,  Harvey Milk was California’s first openly-gay politician. 

As a Navy diving instructor in the early 50’s, Milk was stationed briefly in San Diego. Less well known, is that when the Navy found out Harvey Milk was gay, he was forced out of the service for being gay.”

Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk’s nephew attended Friday’s event and said naming the ship — known as a fleet oiler — after his uncle sends a message to people around the world.

He told the gathering, “”For those who will be working on this ship, it’s important to note his legacy. If anyone asks, ‘did Harvey dream of this day,’ the answer is yes.  It’s what gave him the courage to face those bullets 41 years ago. He dreamed of all of us being included, and we would not be diminished because of that.  When we worked so hard to get rid of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy,’ it sent a message that the Armed Services weren’t going to discriminate against anyone.”

This “sends a global message of inclusion more powerful than simply ‘We’ll tolerate everyone,’ ” Milk said. “[It says,] we celebrate everyone.”

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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