San Fran To Consider Renaming Int’l Airport After Gay Rights Pioneer Harvey Milk

harvey-milkSan Francisco Supervisor David Campos will introduce legislation today to rename the city’s airport after slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Campos needs five of his colleagues to agree to submit a proposal for the November ballot to create Harvey Milk-San Francisco International Airport. Should the name change take effect, the city would become the world’s first airport honoring an openly gay person, Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk told The Washington Post.

The airport would serve 68 countries where homosexuality is illegal, a fact, Milk said, would give “ young gay people in an illegal place…the green light to authenticity.”

“It’s a major representation that (they) are being celebrated somewhere in the world in a high-level way,” he added.

San Francisco International sees some 41 million passengers pass through its gates every year, “and the idea that millions of people can learn about Harvey Milk and what he represented is very moving,” Campos said.

Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay person elected to public office in the United States when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He was tragically assassinated, along with Mayor George Moscone, over a year later by fellow city supervisor Dan White.

“Renaming the airport for Harvey Milk would be an international symbol of hope and freedom, and an enormous educational opportunity,” said John O’Connor, Equality California Executive Director. “This is a chance to lead the world and affect positive change on a global scale.”

According to Campos, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors could vote on the amendment in as little as two weeks.

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  • Wilbready

    I love the idea! As long as there is a place within the airport for people to read about the struggles of the LGBT community. Otherwise, a simple name change wouldn’t mean much. I certainly did not and still do not know who Fred Murrah was, but he had a building in Oklahoma City named after him.

  • petensfo

    I would LOVE that!

    I’m always annoyed when I have to fly into Bush or god-forbid, Reagan! ugh.

  • yaoming

    Seems unlikely, but it would be nice.

  • gppm1103

    It’s a great idea, but it always seems like when they do these things…the name gets lost.

    Mineta San Jose International. Nobody says Mineta…just San Jose.

    Washington Reagan is remembered for Reagan because it is saying which airport it is, from the others…Dulles, BWI, Dulles uses his name also.

    JFK…John F Kennedy International knows who the airport is named after. I think Bush is kind of lost at Hobby in Houston.

    This is great. My partner actually went to his rallies in the ’70’s, but is anyone going to use his name and remember him? Or will it just be SFO, San Francisco International? Maybe his name in front of the big sign on the terminal as you pull in will make a difference.

    Do it San Francisco…let’s see!

  • Cam

    The name is an easy one to say, I could see people saying “And then we land at Harvey Milk at 5pm” Just like they say O’Hare, or JFK.

    Cool if they end up doing it.

  • Michael Bedwell

    ATTENTION MR: BRATHWAITE! Whatever his real accomplishments, Harvey Milk was NOT “the first openly gay person elected to public office in the United States.” He wasn’t even the second. He was THE FIFTH!

    1st – Kathy Kozachenko (Ann Arbor, Mich., City Council, April 1, 1974)
    2nd – Elaine Noble (Massachusetts House of Representatives, November 5, 1974)
    3rd – Allan Spear (Minnesota State Senate, reelected November 1976 after coming out, in office, in 1974) He was also the first out gay leader of a state legislature [not CA’s John Perez as the Courage Campaign claimed] serving as the Senate’s President from 1992-2000. In all, he was there 28 years, and led the successful fight to pass the 1993 Minnesota Human Rights Act, the first state law to include both sexual orientation and gender identity in protection from discrimination employment, education, public accommodation, and housing.
    4th – Jim Yeadon (Madison, Wis., City Council, April 1977). He’d been chosen by other council members to fill a vacancy in October of 1976, but didn’t win the seat by public vote until the following April.
    5th – Harvey Milk (San Francisco Board of Supervisors, November 1977)

  • jwrappaport

    @petensfo: Tell me about it. I live in DC and fly through Houston all the time. I always say “National” and “Houston” – never “Reagan” or “Bush.” Don’t just do it for the gays, but for all the ATCs whose lives Reagan ruined in the ’81 strike.

  • frshmn

    @Michael Bedwell: First openly gay man elected without being priorly appointed or elected while still closeted ;) It was monumental also taking place in a major city, but I agree that other trailblazer accomplishments shouldnt be discounted.

  • FStratford

    @Michael Bedwell:

    Oh please. These other people may have been elected first but have they contributed as much? No! Typical of midwestern politicians, they chose to play the game and not cause a stir.

    Harvey Milk did not. He paid his life for it. Let’s keep things in perspective.

  • Steve Rosenberger

    Harvey would love this! Would SFO become HMO? Please? Please!

  • Michael Bedwell

    Many thank to the author for correcting the statement about Harvey’s place in the timeline of out elected gay officials.

    @ frshmn: the original assertion did not specify “gay man,” but any gay person period. I appreciate your agreement that other trailblazers before him deserve recogniton, but your discounting of the fact that both Spear and Yeadon STILL had to be accepted by voters is unrealistic as is asserting that Harvey’s election in the gayest city in America was a bigger hurdle than Noble and Spear being elected to STATE office.

    @ FStratford: perhaps you should take a class in Reading for Comprehension. But I REPEAT that Spear succeeded in getting the first STATE LAW banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity—HARDLY “not caus[ing] a stir.” Noble shook things up, too, in her STATE legislator position, and could well have been assassinated herself. She got multiple death threats, her office was vandalized, and someone literally spit in her face. BOTH of their elections generated the AT LEAST THE SAME amount of national and international positive publicity that Milk’s did years later. It’s sacrilege to the uneducated True Believers but he is NOT famous because he was elected, nor anything he accomplished in office, but because he was killed. Other gay legislators since in California have accomplished much more but because they weren’t murdered no one outside of the state or Movement knows their names.

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