Tag Archives: Harvey Milk

COLD CASE: 6th. Victim of San Francisco's Notorious Serial Killer The Doodler Identified.

COLD CASE: 6th. Victim of San Francisco’s Notorious Serial Killer The Doodler Identified.

The Doodler, is an unidentified serial killer believed responsible for up to 16 murders and three assaults of men in San Francisco, California, between January 1974 and September 1975.[ The nickname was given due to the perpetrator’s habit of sketching his victims prior to their sexual encounters and slayings by stabbing.[2] The perpetrator met his victims at gay nightclubs, bars and restaurants.[

Now some 45+ years later San Francisco police on Tuesday announced the identification of the sixth suspected victim of a serial killer 

““As a result of a new investigation, it is believed that Warren Andrews may be the sixth victim of the ‘Doodler,’” the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement released yesterday. “On April 27, 1975, Andrews was a victim of an assault at Land’s End. Andrews was found unconscious and never regained consciousness, dying several weeks later. All six (6) victims are believed to be Gay Caucasian males.””

Police reportedly have a suspect who was interviewed at the time of the killings and may still be alive today, but need further help from witnesses to make an arrest.

At the time, activist Harvey Milk publicly expressed empathy for the victims who refused to speak with police  stating, “I understand their position. I respect the pressure society has put on them.” Milk elaborated that the surviving victims likely feared damaging relationships with family and in the workforce.

Police also increased the reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the the “Doodler” from $200,000 to $250,000.

Gay History Month- October 21, 1985: Dan White The Man Who Murdered Harvey Milk Commits Suicide – Read His Full Confession

Dan White and Harvey Milk

October 21, 1985Dan White, the man who murdered both Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, commits suicide.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay individual to be elected to office in California. White a fellow San Francisco supervisor assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Milk, on Monday, November 27, 1978, at San Francisco’s City Hall.  In a controversial verdict that led to the coining of the legal slang the”Twinkie Defense,” White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder. White served five years of an only seven-year prison sentence.

White’s release was carried out with great secrecy. The afternoon before his scheduled release, he was transferred 200 miles south to a facility in the Tehachapi mountains north of Los Angeles. The next morning, he was handed over to the Los Angeles Parole Department which had arranged for an apartment for him somewhere in LA. He was given $200 in cash, the standard amount given to released prisoners. The press was given no information other than that White had been secretly released and his parole was not to exceed one year. White remained in hiding for a period of nine months During that period, he contacted his old friend, San Francisco Detective Frank Falzon, whom he had not talked to since the trial. White invited Falzon to join him in L.A., saying that he wanted to explain the whole thing.

Falzon claimed that at that meeting, White confessed that not only was his killing of Moscone and Milk premeditated, but that he had actually planned to kill Carol Silver and Willie Brown as well. Falzon quoted White as having said, “I was on a mission. I wanted the four of them. Carol Ruth Silver, she was the biggest snake … and Willie Brown, he was masterminding the whole thing. (Meaning his not being to withdraw his resignation from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.)

Less than two years after his release, Dan White returned to San Francisco, methodically taped a garden hose to the tailpipe of his car , stuck the other end through a car window, turned on the ignition and died. In his hands, he clutched photographs of his three children and his wife.

Dan White did not kill himself out of guilt.  He did it because his killing Harvey Milk was going to follow him for the rest of his entire life.

Scott Smith, Milk’s lover and business partner, said he was “stunned” by White’s death but not upset. “He got away with murder,” Smith said. “I suppose what goes around comes around.”

Many refer to Dan White even today as ” The most hated man in San Francisco’s history.” 

And rightfully so.

Please take a few minutes to read Dan White’s confession to the murder of  Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk. Also watch the video below: Dan White News Footage Of Arrest, Trial & The White Night Riots.

Continue reading Gay History Month- October 21, 1985: Dan White The Man Who Murdered Harvey Milk Commits Suicide – Read His Full Confession

Gay History 101 – WATCH: The Story Of “The Castro” – FULL Documentary

As many of you know a lot of my history posts tend to lean more towards New York City’s gay history mostly because that is where I hail from.  With that being said I would like to share with you a very interesting and great documentary I stumbled upon about the history of the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco.

Originally shown during the Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in 1996, The Castro is a 90-minute documentary tells the dramatic story of how a quiet corner of San Francisco became the cornerstone of a movement-an international symbol of gay liberation.

Using rare archival film and fresh contemporary footage, the story of the Castro’s transformation and history is told by the people who lived it: young and old, straight and gay. They bring to life a history ranging from the discriminatory world of the 1950s, through the flowering of “gay power,” and into the age of AIDS.

The Castro, was produced by KQED San Francisco/PBS  and won the George Foster Peabody Award, a CINE Golden Eagle Award and was   screened at numerous film festivals in the United States and abroad.

Its a must see to understand our past and why the community is so different today..

On this Harvey Milk Day 2022 as we find our rights, our very live still being attached by the GOP/Right Wing. NOW more than ever we need to remember these words.

Harvey Milk’s HOPE Speech (Full Transcript)

On this Harvey Milk Day 2022 as we find our rights, our very live still being attached by the GOP/Right Wing. NOW more than ever we need to remember these words.

 “My name is Harvey Milk, and I’m here to recruit you. I’ve been saying this one for years. It’s a political joke. I can’t help it. I’ve got to tell it. I’ve never been able to talk to this many political people before, so if I tell you nothing else, you may be able to go home laughing a bit.

This ocean liner was going across the ocean, and it sank. And there was one little piece of wood floating. And three people swam to it. And they realized only one person could hold onto it. So they had a little debate about which was the person.

It so happened that the three people were the Pope, the President and Mayor Daley. The Pope said he was the titular head of one of the greatest religions of the world, and he was spiritual adviser to many, many millions. And he went on and pontificated. And they thought it was a good argument.

Then the President said he was the leader of the largest and most powerful nation of the world. What takes place in this country affects the whole world. And they thought that was a good argument.

And Mayor Daley said he was the mayor of the backbone of the United States. And what took place in Chicago affected the world. And what took place in the Archdiocese of Chicago affected Catholicism. And they thought that was a good argument. So they did it the democratic way and voted. And Daley won seven to two.

About six months ago, Anita Bryant, in her speaking to God, said that the drought in California was because of the gay people. On November 9, the day after I got elected, it started to rain. On the day I got sworn in, we walked to City Hall. And it was kind of nice. And as soon as I said the word “I do,” it started to rain again. It’s been raining since then. And the people of San Francisco figure the only way to stop it is to do a recall petition. That’s the local joke.

So much for that. Why are we here? Why are gay people here? And what’s happening? What’s happening to me is the antithesis of what you read about in the papers and what you hear about on the radio. You hear about and read about this movement to the right, that we must band together and fight back this movement to the right. And I’m here to go ahead and say that what you hear and read is what they want you to think.

Because it’s not happening. The major media in this country has talked about the movement to the right, so the legislators think that there is indeed a movement to the right and that the Congress and the legislators and the City Council will start to move to the right and the way the major media want them. So they keep on talking about this move to the right.

So let’s look at 1977, and see if there was indeed a movement to the right. In 1977, gay people had their rights taken away from them in Miami. But you must remember, that in the week before Miami and the week after that, the word “homosexual” or “gay” appeared in every single newspaper in this nation in articles both pro and con. And every radio station and every TV station and every household, for the first time in the history of the world, everybody was talking about it, good or bad.

Unless you have dialogue, unless you open the walls of dialogue, you can never reach to change people’s opinion. In those two weeks, more good and bad, but more about the word homosexual and gay was written than probably in the history of mankind. Once you have dialogue starting, you know you can break down prejudice.

In 1977, we saw a dialogue start. In 1977, we saw a gay person elected in San Francisco. In 1977, we saw the state of Mississippi decriminalize marijuana. In 1977, we saw the convention of conventions in Houston. And I want to know where the movement to the right was happening.

What that is is a record of what happened last year. What we must do is make sure that 1978 continues the movement that is really happening and that the media don’t want you to know about. That is the movement to the left. It is up to CDC to put the pressures on Sacramento, but to break down the walls and the barriers so the movement to the left continues and progress continues in the nation.

We have before us coming up several issues we must speak out on. Probably the most important issue outside the Briggs which we will come to, but we do know what will take place this June. We know that there’s an issue on the ballot called Jarvis-Gann. We hear the taxpayers talk about it on both sides. But what you don’t hear is that it’s probably the most racist issue on the ballot in a long time.

In the city and the county of San Francisco, if it passes and we indeed have to lay off people, who will they be? The last in and the first in and who are the last in but the minorities. Jarvis-Gann is a racist issue. We must address that issue. We must not talk away from it. We must not allow them to talk about the money it’s going to save, because look at who’s going to save the money and look at who’s going to get hurt.

We also have another issue that we have started in some of the north counties. And I hope in some of the south counties, it continues. In San Francisco, elections were asking– at least we hope to ask– that the US government put pressure on the closing of the South African consulate. That must happen.

There is a major difference between an embassy in Washington, which is a diplomatic borough and a consulate in major cities. A consulate is there for one reason only, to promote business, economic gains, tourism, investment. And every time you have a business going to South Africa, you’re promoting a regime that’s offensive.

In the city of San Francisco, if every one of 51% of that city were to go to South Africa, they would be treated as second class citizens. That is an offense to the people of San Francisco. And I hope all my colleagues up there will take every step we can to close down that consulate and hope that people in other parts of the state follow us in that lead.

The battles must be started someplace. And CDC is a great place to start the battles. I know we are pressed for time, so I’m going to cover just one more little point. That is, to understand why it’s important that gay people run for office, and that gay people get elected. I know there are many people in this room who are gay who are running for a central committee. And I encourage you.

There’s a major reason why. If my nongay friends and supporters in this room understand it, they’ll probably understand why I’ve run so often before I finally made it. You see right now, there’s a controversy going on in this convention about the gay governor. Is he speaking out enough? Is her strong enough for gay rights? And there is controversy. And for us to say that there is not would be foolish. Some people are satisfied. And some people are not.

You see there is a major difference– and it remains a vital difference– between a friend and a gay person, a friend in office and a gay person in office. Gay people have been slandered nationwide. We’ve been tarred and we’ve been brushed with the picture of pornography. In Dade County, we were accused of child molestation. It is not enough anymore just to have friends represent us, no matter how good that friend may be.

The black community made up its mind to that a long time ago. The myths against blacks can only be dispelled by electing black leaders so the black community could be judged by its leaders and not by the myths or the black criminals. The Spanish community must not be judged by Latin criminals or myths. The Asian community must not be judged by Asian criminals or myths. The Italian community must not be judged by the mafia–myths.

And the time has come when the gay community must not be judged for our criminals and our myths. Like every other group, we must be judged by our leaders and by those who are themselves gay, those who are visible. For invisible, we remain in limbo. A myth. A person with no parents, no brothers, no sisters, no friends who are straight, no important positions in employment.

A tenth of the nation’s supposedly composed of stereotypes and would-be seducers of children. And no offense meant to those stereotypes but today, the black community is not judged by its friends but by its black legislators and leaders. And we must give people the chance to judge us by our leaders and legislators.

A gay person in office can set a tone, can command respect, not only from the larger community, but from the young people in our own community who need both examples and hope. The first gay people we elect must be strong. They must not be content to sit in the back of the bus. They must not be content to accept pabulum. They must be above wheeling and dealing. They must be, for the good of all of us, independent, unbought.

The anger and the frustrations that some of us feel is because we are misunderstood. And friends can’t feel that anger and frustration. They can sense it in us, but they can’t feel it. Because a friend has never gone through what is known as “coming out.” I will never forget what it was like coming out and having nobody to look up toward.

I remember the lack of hope, and our friends can’t fulfill it. I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who have lost hope, be they gay, be they seniors, be they blacks looking for an almost impossible job, be they Latins trying to explain their problems and aspirations in a tongue that’s foreign to them. I Personally will never forget that people are more important than buildings.

I use the word “I” because I am proud. I stand here tonight in front of my gay sisters, brothers and friends, because I’m proud of you. I think it’s time that we have many legislators who are gay and proud of that fact and do not have to remain in the closet. I think a gay person upfront will not walk away a responsibility and be afraid of being tossed out of office.

After Dade County, I walked among the angry and frustrated night after night. And I looked at their faces. And in San Francisco, three days before Gay Pride Day, a person was killed just because he was gay. And that night I walked among the sad and the frustrated at City Hall in San Francisco, and later that night, as they lit candles on Castro Street and stood in silence, reaching out for some symbolic thing that would give them hope. These were strong people whose faces I knew from the shop, the streets, meetings, and people who I never saw before but I knew. They were strong, but even they needed hope.

And the young gay people in Altoona, Pennsylvanias, and the Richmond, Minnesotas, who are coming out and hear Anita Bryant on television and her story. The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only are the gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the “us-es.” The “us-es” will give up.

And if you help elect the Central Committee and other offices, more gay people– that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone. So if there’s a message I have to give, it is that I found one overriding thing about my personal election. It’s the fact that if a gay person can be elected, it’s a green light. And you and you and you– you have to give people hope. Thank you very much.Harvey Milk

WATCH: Jane Fonda Speak Out For Gay Rights In 1979 Following The The White Night Riots [VIDEO]

GAY HISTORY – WATCH: Jane Fonda Speak Out For Gay Rights In 1979 Following The The White Night Riots [VIDEO]

In a resurfaced video from 1979 Jane Fonda was being interviewed following the White Night Riots in San Francisco, and the death of her friend Harvey Milk.

Fonda was interviewed by a TV reporter. Firing back the most brilliant and eloquent of thoughts after being asked if gay people were ‘using’ her organization, the Campaign for Economic Democracy.

Asked: ‘Do you feel that the gays in San Francisco, who are very powerful and very strong, need support? Are they still being discriminated against?’ Fonda emphatically replied: ‘Oh, absolutely. Culturally, psychologically, economically, politically – gays and lesbians are discriminated against. ‘They are a very powerful movement, especially in San Francisco, they don’t need me, but they like me, they like our organisation, the Campaign for Economic Democracy, because they know that working together we can be stronger than either entity is by itself.’

HARVEY MILK DAY - Long Lost Photos of Harvey Milk Unearthed

HARVEY MILK DAY – Long Lost Photos of Harvey Milk Unearthed

Long lost photos of Harvey Milk debating, Republican state Sen. John Briggs of Orange County,  on Sept. 15, 1978  at Northgate High School over the Briggs Initiative — a state proposition that would have made it mandatory for school boards to fire openly gay and lesbian teachers have been unearthed.

The photos below were found and published almost 40 years later by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Also called California Proposition 6 the initiative was on the California State ballot on November 7, 1978 The Briggs Initiative was the first failure in a movement that started with the successful campaign headed by Anita Bryant and her organization Save Our Children in Dade County, Florida, to repeal a local gay rights ordinance.

A diverse group of politicians including (shockingly) Ronald ReaganJerry BrownGerald Ford, United Farm Workers leader Cesar Chavez, Giants owner Bob Lurie and then-president Jimmy Carter all opposed the bill.

At the debate Harvey Milk dismantled each of Briggs’ arguments with facts and shamed the senator for his most archaic talking points.

You normal people — who have a family, who have children — do you want a sexually disoriented person teaching your children?” Briggs asked, to hisses and boos from the audience..

Milk countered: “Child molesters are heterosexual, rapists are heterosexual. … Most murderers are heterosexual. Do you want those people teaching your children? You’re lying through your teeth and you know it.”

At one point, Milk asked Briggs who should be allowed to counsel a gay boy at a public high school such as Northgate.

“I would like him to go to a preacher,” Briggs responded, “or a pastor or a psychologist who could lead him out of that.”

Chronicle photographer John Storey who attended the event took dozens of pictures that were never published.

The recently discovered images, reveal a dramatic and oddly staged event. Milk and Briggs sat on school-issued chairs in the middle of the Northgate High basketball court, facing a handful of media members. The audience, made up of community members young and old, sat in the bleachers on the side.

The Briggs Initiative was soundly defeated on Nov. 7, 1978, losing by more than a million votes.

Thank you Harvey.

San Francisco International Airport Set To Name Terminal In Honor of Harvey Milk

Gay History – May 22: Harvey Milk Day – “You have to give people hope.”

 

“Without knowing, understanding and embracing our past.

We can not move forward in the future….”

Harvey Bernard Milk  (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and served 11 months in office.

The “Hope Speech” became Harvey Milk’s stump speech. He gave a skeletal version when he declared his candidacy in 1977 and an expanded version in 1978 for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, later known as the Gay Pride Parade. For that parade, Milk commissioned his friend Gilbert Baker to come up with a logo; Baker created the gay pride Rainbow Flag, which first waved at that parade. Chicago native and science fiction writer Frank Robinson, also Milk’s speechwriter and a close adviser, helped pen the “Hope Speech.”

In the speech, Milk references adversaries Anita Bryant and California legislator John Briggs, who campaigned nationally against gay rights. Addressing gay youths across the United States afraid to come out, Milk cites his own election as a gay politician in San Francisco as a testament of hope. For those youths contemplating suicide or staying in the closet, there were two new options, Milk said: “Go to California, or stay … and fight.”

On November 27, 1978, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White,  (full confession) another city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his job back.  White was unstable and highly homophobic. Milk’s election was made possible by and was a key component of a shift in San Francisco politics. The assassinations and the ensuing events were the result of continuing ideological conflicts in the city.

In August 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the gay rights movement stating “he fought discrimination with visionary courage and conviction”. Milk’s nephew Stuart Milk accepted for his uncle.  Not long after that, Stuart co-founded the Harvey Milk Foundation.

Harvey Milk became an icon and a martyr for the gay community and is “the most famous and most significantly open gay official ever elected in the United States”.  Anne Kronenberg , his final campaign manager, wrote of him: “What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us

In 2009 then California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger designated May 22 as “Harvey Milk Day”, and inducted Milk in the California Hall of Fame. The Harvey Milk Foundation began coordinating global recognition and celebration of Harvey Milk Day.

Harry Britt summarized Milk’s impact the evening Milk was shot in 1978:

No matter what the world has taught us about ourselves, we can be beautiful and we can get our thing together … Harvey was a prophet … he lived by a vision … Something very special is going to happen in this city and it will have Harvey Milk’s name on it.”

 

 

 

Gay History – AUDIO: Listen to the Shocking Confession of Dan White, Murderer of Harvey Milk and George Moscone – 11/27/1978 Audio

Mike Weiss, the author of the book “Double Play“, about the murders of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, while doing research obtained a copy of the audiotape of  Milk and Moscone murderer’s Dan White’s confessional interview with officers of the San Francisco Police Department, conducted the day of the fatal shootings at San Francisco’s City Hall.

Weiss gave a copy of the audiotape to Randy Shilts when he was conducting research for his book “The Mayor of Castro Street”, and he placed his copy in his archive which is now housed at the San Francisco Public Library History Center where it has been kept since

This never before heard audio of White’s confession made on 11/27/1978 has now been made available for all to hear thanks to San Francisco queer activist and blogger Mike Petrelis of The Petrelis Files who obtained a CD version, and uploaded it to SoundCloud for all to hear

Listen to this very important and disturbing piece of LGBT history .

TRANSCRIPT:

“A Daniel James White. 
  
“Q – Now, Dan, before I go any further I have to advise you of the Miranda rights. Number 1 you have the right to remain silent. Number 2 Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Three- You have the right to talk to a lawyer and have him present with you while you are being questioned. 4. If you can­not afford to hire a lawyer, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning, if you wish one. Do you understand each of these rights I have explained to you? 

“A  – I do. 

  
“Q  – And having these rights in mind, do you wish to ah. . .tell us about the incident involving Mayor George Moscone and Super­visor Harvey Milk at this time? 
  
“A –  I do. 
  
“Q –  Would you, normally in a situation like this ah. . .we ask questions, I’m aware of your past history as a police officer and also as a San Francisco fireman. I would prefer, I’ll let you do it in a nar­rative form as to what happened this morning if you can lead up to the events of the shooting and then backtrack as to why these events took place. 
  
“A –  Well, it’s just that I’ve been under an awful lot of pressure lately, financial pressure, because of my job situation, family pressure because of ah. . . .not being able to have the time with my family. It’s just that I wanted to serve the people of San Francisco well an I did that. Then when the pressures got too great, I decided to leave. After I left, my family and friends offered their support and said whatever it would take to allow me to go back in to office-well they would be willing to make that effort. So since I felt the responsibili­ty for the people that elected me I went to Mayor Moscone and told him that my situation had changed because of the support of family and friends and I’d like to be, retain my seat, to be appointed to my seat. Initially he told me that he felt that I was an elected represen­tative of District 8, that I was doing an outstanding job, people of District 8 were lucky to have me, and that if it came to a legal ruling that he would appoint me, reappoint me, because of the type of per­son I was. So with that in mind I tried to set my personal affairs in order, preparing to take my seat. And then it came out that Super­visor Milk and some others were working against me to get my seat back on the board. I learned of this I was in the City Attorney’s of­fice, when Supervisor Milk called, stating that he, he was of that mind. He didn’t speak to me, he spoke to the City Attorney but I was in the office and I heard the conversation and that he was going to try to prevent me from taking my seat again. I went back to the Mayor and he told me that he had had some comments made to him that he felt that some of the people in District 8 didn’t want me to, to serve, and I told him that these were people that had op­posed me in my election, had traumatized my family by taking me, taking, pressing charges against me at the District Attorney’s office twice on false charges. They put a lot of pressure on me and my family. 
  
“Q – Can you relate these pressures you’ve been under, Dan, at this time? Can you explain it to the Inspector Erdelatz and myself? 
  
“A – Well, it’s just that some of these people have charged me with taking money from big corporations and not recording it but I never did that. I never took money from anybody but the papers print it. Like, my constituents believe it. They, they asked me about it. These people that are irresponsible and bring these charges. Two months later the District Attorney said they’re unfounded but no one hears about it, that the charges are false. But my family suffers and I suf­fer for it, phone cans we get. 
  
“Q  – These meetings that you were having with the Mayor, were they an occurring last week or, or were they going into the weekend, this past weekend? 
  
“A –  No, I, I hadn’t spoke to the Mayor since last Saturday. This would be Saturday a week ago and he told me that I would have to show some support from the people of District 8 if I was going to be reappointed. I could see the game that was being played, they were going to use me as a scapegoat, whether I was a good supervisor or not, was not the point. This was a political opportunity and they were going to degrade me and my family and the job that I had tried to do and, and more or less hang me out to dry. And I saw more and more evidence of this during the week when papers reported that ah. . .someone else was going to reappointed. I couldn’t get through to the Mayor. The Mayor never called me. He told me he was going to call me before he made any decision, he never did that. An it was only on my, my own initiative when I went down today to speak with him. I was troubled, the pressure, my family again, my, my son’s out to a babysitter. My wife’s got to work, long hours, 50 and 60 hours, never see my family. 
  
“Q – Dan can you tell Inspector Erdelatz and myself, what was your plan this morning? What did you have in mind? 
  
“A –  I didn’t have any, any devised plan or anything, it’s, I was leaving the house to talk, to see the Mayor and I went downstairs, to, to make a phone can and I had my gun down there. 
  
“Q –  Is this your police service revolver, Dan? 
  
“A –  This is the gun I had when I was a policeman. It’s in my room an ah. . .I don’t know, I just put it on. I, I don’t know why I put it on, it’s just. . . 
  
“Q –  Where is this gun now, Dan? 
  
“A –  I turned it in to Officer ah. . .Paul Chignell who I turned myself in to at Northern Station. I, I. . . . . . . . 
  
“Q –  You turned yourself in, I wasn’t aware of that. 
  
“A –  I turned myself in at Northern Station to Officer Paul Chignell who, who I could trust and I, I know would do things properly. An then, an then I, I went to the, to the Mayor’s office. 
  
“Q –  You went directly from your residence to the Mayor’s office this morning? 
  
“A –  Yes, my, my aide picked me up but she didn’t have any idea ah. . .you know that 1 had a gun on me or, you know, I just was going to the Mayor to, to see if he was going to reappoint me and if not, the reasons why. And I went in to see him an, an he told me he wasn’t going to reappoint me and he, and he wasn’t going to, intending to tell me about it. He had some, he told me he had a press conference scheduled and he was going to announce it at the press conference. Didn’t even have the courtesy to call me or tell me that I wasn’t go­ing to be reappointed. Then ah. . .I got kind of fuzzy and then just my head didn’t feel right and I, then he said, Let’s go into the, the back room an, an have a drink and talk about it. An ah. . . . 
  
“Q –  Was this before any threats on your part, Dan? 
  
“A – I, I never made any threats. 
  
“Q –  There were no threats at all? 
  
“A –  I, I. . . .oh no. 
  
“Q –  When were you, how, what was the conversation, can you explain to inspector Erdelatz and myself the conversation that ex­isted between the two of you at this time? 
  
“A –  It was pretty much just, you know, I asked, was I going to be reappointed. He said, no I am not, no you’re not. And I said, why. He said, he said well I’ve had people in your district say they don’t want you and I, I reiterated that I told him before that these were people that had brought false charges against me and had been dog­ging me since I’ve been in office and that he had been in politics and he understood that there are going to be people that dislike you, you, not everybody as a 100% supporter but I told him that oh, you know, an overwhelming majority of the people in my district wanted me as their supervisor and I told him how a person told me last night that they had on their own gone out with neighbors and gathered over a thousand signatures in one day, my constituents, to keep me in of­fice. He knew that and he told me, it’s a political decision and that’s the end of it, and that’s it. 
  
“Q –  Is this when you were having a drink in the back room? 
  
“A –  No, no, it’s before I went to the back room and then he could obviously see, see I was obviously distraught and upset and then he said, let’s go in the back room and and, and have a drink and I, I’m not even a drinker, you know I don’t, once in a while, but I’m not even a drinker. But I just kinda stumbled in the back, went, went, went in the back room and he sat down and he was all, he was talk­ing and nothing was getting through to me. It was just like a roaring in my ears an, and then em. . . . .it just came to me, you know, he. 
. . . . 
  
“Q –  You couldn’t hear what he was saying Dan? 
  
“A –  Just small talk that, you know it just wasn’t registering. What I was going to do now, you know, and how this would affect my family you know an, an just, just all the time knowing he’s going to go out an, an lie to the press an, an tell ’em, you know, that I, I wasn’t a good supervisor and that people didn’t want me an then that was it. Then I, I just shot him, that was it, it was over. 
  
“Q –  Was he, was he using the telephone at the time or going to use the phone? 
  
“A –  No. 
  
“Q –  Not any time. . . . 
  
“A –  I, I don’t even know if there’s a phone in that back room. 
  
“Q –  What happened after you left there, Dan? 
  
“A –  Well, I, I left his office by one of the back doors an, an I started, I was going to go down the stairs and then I saw Harvey Milk’s aide across the hall at the Supervisors an then it struck me about what Harvey had tried to do an I said, well I’ll go talk to him. I said, you know, at least maybe he’ll be honest with me, you know, because he didn’t know I had, I had heard his conversation and he was all smiles and stuff and I went in and, like I say, I, I was still upset an ah. . . .then I said, I wanted to talk to him an, an, an just try to explain to him, you know, I, I didn’t agree with him on a lot of things but I was always honest, you know, and here they were devious and then he started kind of smirking cause he knew, he knew that I wasn’t going to be reappointed. And ah, . . . .it just didn’t make any impres­sion on him. I started to say you know how hard I worked for it and what it meant to me and my family an then my reputation as, as a hard worker, good honest person and he just kind of smirked at me as if to say, too bad an then an then I just got all flushed an, an hot an I shot him. 
  
“Q –  How long a conversation did you have with Mr. Milk? 
  
”A –  It wasn’t very long, I, I, he was in his office when I came in to the supervisors’ area and I said, Harvey can I talk to you? He got up or he was standing up, I can’t remember an he, and he walked into the room and I shut my door and he and I were in there, then. . . . 
  
“Q  – This occurred inside your room, Dan? 
  
”A –  Yeah, in my office, yeah. 
  
“Q –  And when you left there where did you go? 
  
”A –  Well let’s see. When I left there I went into my aide’s room and I, an I took her keys to her car, an, an I ran out and went in the back to where her car is parked in, in the well and I took her car and I drove over to the, where did I drive to? I didn’t even know what I was doing an I. . . . 
  
“Q –  Did you go back home? 
  
“A –  No, no, no I drove to the, the Doggie Diner on, on Van Ness and I called my wife and she, she didn’t know, she. . . . 
  
“Q –  Did you tell her Dan? 
  
”A –  I called up, I didn’t tell her on the phone. I just said she was work. . . .see, she was working, son’s at a babysitter, shit. I just told her to meet me at the cathedral. 
  
“Q –  Did she meet you? 
  
”A –  Yeah. She. . . . 
  
“Q –  St. Mary’s? 
  
”A –  She took a cab, yeah. She didn’t know. She had knew I’d been upset and I wasn’t even talking to her at home because I just couldn’t explain how I felt and she had no, nothing to blame about it, she was, she always has been great to me but it was, I couldn’t tell anybody I didn’t, there was just, just the pressure hitting at me an just my head’s all flushed and expected that my skull’s going to crack. Then when she came to the church I, I told her and she kind of slumped an just she, she couldn’t say anything. 
  
“Q –  How is she now do you, do you know is she, do you know where she is? 
  
”A –  I don’t know now. She, she came to Northern Station with me. She asked me not to do anything about myself, you know that she, she loved me an she’d stick by me and not to hurt myself an then we just walked to Northern Station and went an talked to Of­ficer Chignell and that’s it. 
  
“Q –  Is there anything else you’d like to add at this time? 
  
“A –  Just that I’ve always been honest and worked hard, never cheated anybody or, you know, I’m not a crook or anything an I wanted to do a good job, I’m trying to do a good job an I saw this city as it’s going, kind of downhill an I was always just a lonely vote on the board and try to be honest an, an I just couldn’t take it any more an that’s it. 
  
“Q –  Inspector Erdelatz? 
  
[Inspector Erdelatz]: “Q –   Dan, when you went to Northern Station, what did you tell Officer Chignell? 
  
“A –  I didn’t say anything, the police obviously knew. They all knew and I know most of them, I’ve worked with most of them, and sh. . . .they just, you know, checked me out, frisked me and I had the gun and took out my wallet and everything, an ah. . .that’s it, I told them I, I, I wasn’t going to say anything. 
  
“Q –  Dan, right now are you under a doctor’s care? 
  
“A –  No. 
  
“Q – Are you under any medication at all? 
  
“A –  No. 
  
“Q –  Have you. .have you carried a gun with you in the past, Dan, since you’ve been ah. . . .a Supervisor say? 
  
“A –  I have, because there were some threats on my life you know from people that I dealt with before the board. I never told my wife about it, I never told anybody cause it, you know, that’s something you don’t want to hurt anybody else, you know, bring anybody else but. . . . 
  
“Q –  When is the last time you had your gun with you prior to today? 
  
”A –  I guess it was a few months ago. I, I was afraid of some of the threats that were made and I had a committee hearing coming up where some of these people were going to appear and I, and I know they had a history of violence an I, I just wanted to make sure protect myself you know this, this city isn’t safe you know and there’s a lot of people running around an well I don’t have to tell you fellows, you guys know that. 
  
“Q –  When you left the Mayor’s office, Dan, you proceeded you say to Harvey Milk’s office? 
  
”A –  I, I didn’t even know if he was there. Like I said, I, I saw his aide come out of the door and I said, well I’m going to go over and talk to Harvey and kind of explain to him you know, he, I worked hard for that job and we disagreed on things but hell, I never was devious and I never lied, just tried to do my best. 
  
“Q –  To your knowledge was anybody aware of the fact that the shooting had occurred in the Mayor’s office? 
  
”A –  I, I have no idea. I don’t even know. 
  
“Q –  Was there anybody running about at that time or was any excitement? 
  
”A –  There wasn’t anybody in the hall ah. . .across the hall, like I say, was his aide an, an I, and then I passed two people in the hall that were walking an, an by the Mayor’s office, and they didn’t seem excited or anything. 
  
“Q –  How long did you converse with Supervisor Milk prior to the shooting? 
  
”A –  Oh it’s, maybe a minute or so, a minute and a half maybe. 
  
I, I don’t know, it was a short time. 
  
“Q –  Was there anybody else present at that time? 
  
”A –  No, no I wanted to talk to Harvey and see, make him under­stand but he kind of smirked at me, he knew I wasn’t getting the job back, 
  
“Q –  And this, when Inspector Falzon asked you about what had transpired when, when you were with the Mayor, you mentioned that there was a roaring in your ears, is that right? 
  
”A –  Yeah, it’s just like my head was going to burst, you know, I just. . . 
  
“Q –  Had that ever happened to you in the past, Dan? 
  
”A –  Yeah, it had, it had when I was under this pressure at home an at night I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep last night. I wasn’t even with my wife in bed, I was on the couch cause I didn’t want to bother her. I couldn’t sleep, I never even slept. It’s just, I don’t know I, it felt like my head was going to burst. 
  
“Q –  When you left your home this morning Dan, and was it your intention to confront the Mayor, Supervisor Milk or anyone else with that gun? 
  
”A –  No, I, I, what I wanted to do was just, talk to him, you know, I, I ah, I didn’t even know if I was going to be reappointed or not be reappointed. Like I say, they didn’t contact me, they didn’t tell me ah. . .I just was going down there to talk to him, you know, an ah. . .why do we do things, you know, why did I, it, I don’t know, No, I, I just wanted to talk to him that’s all an at least have him be honest with me an tell me why he was doing it, not because I was a bad Supervisor or anything but, you know, I never killed anybody before, I never shot anybody. . . . 
  
“Q  – What did. . . . 
  
“A . . . . . . . . .I didn’t even, I didn’t even know if I wanted to kill him. I just shot him, I don’t know. 
  
“Q –  What type of gun is that you were carrying, Dan? 
  
“A –  It’s a 38, a 2 inch 38. 
  
“Q – And do you know how many shots you fired? 
  
”A –  Uh. . . .no I don’t, I don’t. I, out of instinct when I, I reload­ed the gun ah. . .you know, it’s just the training I guess I had, you know. 
  
“Q –  Where did you reload? 
  
“A –  I reloaded in my office when, when I was I couldn’t out in the hall. 
  
“Q –  When you say you reloaded, are you speaking of following the shooting in the Mayor’s office? 
  
”A –  Yeah. 
  
“Q –  What or where were you carrying that gun when you left your house this morning? 
  
”A –  I was carrying it in the holster on my hip, you know. . . .ah. . .ah. . . .under my vest. 
  
“Q –  And how many bullets did you have with you? 
  
”A –  I, I, I don’t know, I ah. . .the gun was loaded an, an I had some ah. .extra shots you know, I just, I, cause, I keep the gun with, with a box of shells and I just grabbed some. 
  
“Q –  Are you referring to some loose. . . . 
  
“A –  Yeah. . . . 
  
“Q . . . . . . . . .bullets? 
  
“A –  Yeah, yes. 
  
“Q –  Inspector Falzon? 
  
[Inspector Falzon]: “No, questions. Is there anything you’d like to add Dan before we close this statement? 
  
”A – Well it’s just that, I never really intended to hurt anybody. It’s just this past several months, it got to the point I couldn’t take it and I never wanted the job for ego or you know, perpetuate myself or anything like that. I was just trying to do a good job for the city. 
  
“Q –  Inspector Erdelatz and I ah. . .appreciate your cooperation and the truthfulness in your statement. At this time, we’ll close this statement, it’s now 12:30 in the afternoon. Thank you.”

November 8, 1977: Harvey Milk Is Elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Gay History – November 8, 1977: Harvey Milk Elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors [Video]

November 8, 1977 – Harvey Milk is elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him the first openly gay man to be elected in a major U.S. city.  Although he was the most pro-gay politician in the United States at the time, politics and activism were not his early interests; he was neither open about his sexuality nor civically active until he was 40, after his experiences in the counterculture movement of the 1960’s.

Despite being a newcomer to the Castro District, Harvey Milk had shown leadership in the small community. He was starting to be taken seriously as a candidate and decided to run again for supervisor in 1975. He reconsidered his approach and cut his long hair, swore off marijuana, and vowed never to visit another gay bathhouse again. Milk’s campaigning earned the support of the teamsters, firefighters, and construction unions. Castro Camera became the center of activity in the neighborhood.

Milk favored support for small businesses and the growth of neighborhoods. Since 1968, Mayor Alioto had been luring large corporations to the city despite what critics labeled “the Manhattanization of San Francisco”. As blue-collar jobs were replaced by the service industry, Alioto’s weakened political base allowed for new leadership to be voted into office in the city. George Moscone was elected mayor. Moscone had been instrumental in repealing the sodomy law earlier that year in the California State Legislature. He acknowledged Milk’s influence in his election by visiting Milk’s election night headquarters, thanking Milk personally, and offering him a position as a city commissioner. Milk came in seventh place in the election, only one position away from earning a supervisor seat.  

Moscone appointed him to the Board of Permit Appeals in 1976, making him the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States. Milk, however, considered seeking a position in the California State Assembly. The district was weighted heavily in his favor, as much of it was based in neighborhoods surrounding Castro Street, where Milk’s sympathizers voted. In the previous race for supervisor, Milk received more votes than the currently seated assemblyman. However, Moscone had made a deal with the assembly speaker that another candidate should run—Art Agnos. Furthermore, by order of the mayor, neither appointed nor elected officials were allowed to run a campaign while performing their duties.

By the time of Milk’s 1975 campaign, he had decided to cut his hair and wear suits. Here, Milk (far right) is campaigning with longshoremen in San Francisco during his 1976 race for the California State Assembly.
 

Milk spent five weeks on the Board of Permit Appeals before Moscone was forced to fire him when he announced he would run for the California State Assembly. Rick Stokes replaced him. Milk’s firing, and the backroom deal made between Moscone, the assembly speaker, and Agnos, fueled his campaign as he took on the identity of a political underdog.

Milk’s continuing campaign, run from the storefront of Castro Camera, was a study in disorganization. Although the older Irish grandmothers and gay men who volunteered were plentiful and happy to send out mass mailings, Milk’s notes and volunteer lists were kept on scrap papers. Any time the campaign required funds, the money came from the cash register without any consideration for accounting.

Milk spent long hours registering voters and shaking hands at bus stops and movie theater lines. He took whatever opportunity came along to promote himself. He thoroughly enjoyed campaigning, and his success was evident. With the large numbers of volunteers, he had dozens at a time stand along the busy thoroughfare of Market Street as human billboards, holding “Milk for Assembly” signs while commuters drove into the heart of the city to work.

In the end Harvey Milk lost the Assembly seat by fewer than 4,000 votes.

Anita Bryant’s public campaign opposing homosexuality and the multiple challenges to gay rights ordinances across the United States fueled gay politics in San Francisco. Seventeen candidates from the Castro District entered the next race for supervisor; more than half of them were gay. The New York Times ran an exposé on the veritable invasion of gay people into San Francisco, estimating that the city’s gay population was between 100,000 and 200,000 out of a total 750,000.

Milk’s most successful opponent was the quiet and thoughtful lawyer Rick Stokes, who was backed by the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club. Stokes had been open about his homosexuality long before Milk had, and had experienced more severe treatment, once hospitalized and forced to endure electroshock therapy to ‘cure’ him.  Milk, however, was more expressive about the role of gay people and their issues in San Francisco politics. Stokes was quoted saying, “I’m just a businessman who happens to be gay,” and expressed the view that any normal person could also be homosexual. Milk’s contrasting populist philosophy was relayed to The New York Times: “We don’t want sympathetic liberals, we want gays to represent gays … I represent the gay street people—the 14-year-old runaway from San Antonio. We have to make up for hundreds of years of persecution. We have to give hope to that poor runaway kid from San Antonio. They go to the bars because churches are hostile. They need hope! They need a piece of the pie!”

On election day, November 8, 1977, he won by 30% against sixteen other candidates, and after his victory became apparent, he arrived on Castro Street on the back of his campaign manager’s motorcycle—escorted by Sheriff Richard Hongisto—to what a newspaper story described as a “tumultuous and moving welcome”.

Since the race for the California State Assembly, Milk had been receiving increasingly violent death threats. Concerned that his raised profile marked him as a target for assassination, he recorded on tape his thoughts, and whom he wanted to succeed him if he were killed, adding: “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door”.

Sadly, we all know how this story ends.

Gay History – November 7, 1978: California’s Prop 6 aka The Briggs Initiative Against Gay Teachers Defeated

California’s Proposition 6 was an initiative on the California State ballot on November 7, 1978.  More commonly known as The Briggs Initiative, sponsored by John Briggs, a conservative state legislator from Orange County. The failed initiative would have banned gays and lesbians, and possibly anyone who supported gay rights, from working in California’s public schools.

The Briggs Initiative came on the heels of successful anti-gay campaign headed by Anita Bryant and her organization Save Our Children in Dade County, Florida, to repeal it’s local gay rights ordinance.

The initiative provided that a public school teacher, teacher’s aide, administrator, or counselor could be fired if the employee was found to have engaged in either (1) “public homosexual activity,” which the initiative defined as an act of homosexual sex which was “not discreet and not practiced in private, whether or not such act, at the time of its commission, constituted a crime,” or (2) “public homosexual conduct,” which the initiative defined as “the advocating, soliciting, imposing, encouraging or promoting of private or public homosexual activity directed at, or likely to come to the attention of, schoolchildren and/or other employees.”

The employee would be terminated if the school board, after a hearing, determined by a preponderance of the evidence that the employee had engaged in “public homosexual activity” or “public homosexual conduct” and “that said activity or conduct render[ed] the employee unfit for service. The factors that the board would consider in the determination of “unfitness for service” would “include, but not be limited to: (1) the likelihood that the activity or conduct may adversely affect students or other employees; (2) the proximity or remoteness in time or location of the conduct to the employee’s responsibilities; (3) the extenuating or aggravating circumstances which, in the judgment of the board, must be examined in weighing the evidence; and (4) whether the conduct included acts, words or deeds, of a continuing or comprehensive nature which would tend to encourage, promote or dispose schoolchildren toward private or public homosexual activity or private or public homosexual conduct.”

The initiative further provided that a person could not be hired as a public school teacher, teacher’s aide, administrator, or counselor if the person had “engaged in public homosexual activity or public homosexual conduct should the board determine that said activity or conduct render[ed] the person unfit for service

San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk along with a coalition of gay and lesbian activists including including Sally Gearhart, Bill Kraus, Tom Ammiano, and Hank Wilson mobilized under the slogan “Come out! Come out! Wherever you are!” and worked fiercely to defeat the initiative. Gay men and lesbians went door to door in their cities and towns across the state to fight and to talk about the harm the initiative would cause.

In the beginning of September, the ballot measure was ahead in public-opinion polls, with about 61% of voters supporting it while 31% opposed it. The movement against it initially succeeded little in shifting public opinion, even though major organizations and ecclesiastical groups opposed it.

A diverse group of politicians opposed the bill including Jerry Brown, Gerald Ford, then-president Jimmy Carter who publicly opposed the bill, citing its potential infringement on individual rights.

Surprisingly the former state Governor of California and later US President Ronald Reagan (who would later go down in gay history as murderous villain during the AIDS Crisis) Ronald Reagan moved to publicly oppose the measure. Reagan issued an informal letter of opposition to the initiative, a week before the election

Reagan’s November 1 editorial stated, in part, “Whatever else it is, homosexuality is not a contagious disease like the measles. Prevailing scientific opinion is that an individual’s sexuality is determined at a very early age and that a child’s teachers do not really influence this.” 

It is not known if Carter’s or Reagan’s involvement is what helped sway the final vote but the Briggs Initiative was defeated by over a million votes on November 7, 1978. 

Briggs’s own Orange County, a conservative stronghold voted against the initiative.

In 2008 (the same year MILK came out and in which he was featured) Briggs stated  he was not an “intolerant person.” He stated that he continued to regard singer Anita Bryant as “a hero,” but he also said that, “with the passage of over thirty years, America has changed — including me.  Briggs went on to say that he and his wife “not only stood for our principles, but fought for principles as we then saw them.” But he also said that the 1970’s and 1980’s were “a much different America,” in which “President Reagan and the country shamefully neglected the AIDS epidemic causing the deaths of thousands.”

Below see long lost photos of Harvey Milk debating, Republican state Sen. John Briggs of Orange County,  on Sept. 15, 1978, at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. over the Briggs Initiative 

Long Lost Photos of Harvey Milk Unearthed