by Jed Ocot
A dedication ceremony for the debut of the Harvey Milk U.S. postage stamp will be held at the White House on May 22, coinciding with Harvey Milk Day, a California state holiday. There is a second ceremony in San Francisco on May 8.
A decade in the making, the new “Forever” stamp is in remembrance of the gay rights activist and politician. It is the first stamp to feature an openly gay politician and is a fitting tribute to someone who is considered to be an LGBT community icon and a pioneer of the LGBT civil rights movement.
In a news release, the White House described Milk as a “visionary leader who became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk’s achievements gave hope and confidence to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the United States and elsewhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination. Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, ensuring equality and providing needed services.”
Milk’s time in office was cut short when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were killed by their former colleague, Dan White, on November 27, 1978. Milk was responsible for passing a strict gay rights ordinance for the city of San Francisco.
Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, released a statement saying that Milk was an “extraordinary activist whose courage, tenacity, and legacy is alive today in everything we do to advance real freedom and justice for all LGBT people and their families. His life has been an inspiration to me, personally. For his service and sacrifice, it is entirely fitting that a Forever stamp be dedicated to him and all that he stood for. This tribute would not have been possible without our partners: the Harvey Milk Foundation, the International Imperial Court System, and Victory Fund Institute.”
The stamp features a black-and-white photograph of Milk, which is based on a photo taken by Dan Nicoletta, a friend of Milk’s. According to Linn’s Stamp News, the stamp also includes the “pride flag colors as six different color squares stacked vertically in the upper left corner.” It will be issued in a pane of 20 “Forever” first-class postage stamps.