Don’t forget the diver

The United States navy will name a ship after gay rights icon Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California. Activists in San Diego and San Francisco had campaigned for the navy to honor Milk (and other LGBT individuals) for their service in the US armed forces, despite being officially banned until 2011.

Milk was a diving officer from 1951 to 1955. He was honorably discharged with the rank of lieutenant junior grade. He moved to San Francisco in 1972, where he lived in the Castro district, owned a camera shop, and advocated for the rights of LGBT people in the growing gay neighborhood. In 1977, he won his election to the San Francisco board of supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in California, then in 1978, Milk was killed in San Francisco city hall by a former supervisor who also killed the mayor, George Moscone.