Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club

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Logo of the organization

Based in San Francisco, California, the Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club is a chapter of the Stonewall Democrats, named after LGBT politician and activist Harvey Milk. Believing that the existing Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club would never support him in his political aspirations, Milk co-founded the club under the name "San Francisco Gay Democratic Club" in the wake of his unsuccessful 1976 campaign for the California State Assembly. Joining Milk in forming the club were a number of the city's activists, including Harry Britt, Dick Pabich, Jim Rivaldo and first club president Chris Perry.[1]

The club set forth the following as its organizing statement:

No decisions which affect our lives should be made without the gay voice being heard. We want our fair share of city services. We want openly gay people appointed and elected to city offices—people who reflect the diversity of our community. We want the schools of San Francisco to provide full exposure to and positive appreciation of gay lifestyles. We are asking no more than we deserve: We will not settle for less.[1]


One of the club's early actions was to demonstrate at a speech given by Vice-president Walter Mondale in Golden Gate Park on June 17, 1977. When Mondale began speaking of human rights in Latin America, demonstrators held up signs demanding a statement on human rights in the United States. When a demonstrator verbally challenged Mondale to say something about gay rights, Mondale angrily left the stage.[2]

Following the assassination of Harvey Milk in 1978, the club changed its name to the Harvey Milk Democratic Club in his memory. The club bills itself as the largest Democratic club in San Francisco.[3]

The club was an inadvertent catalyst of a journalistic scandal for CBS. CBS News producers George Crile and Grace Diekhaus manipulated footage of an appearance by Dianne Feinstein and included it in the 1980 documentary Gay Power, Gay Politics. The National News Council found that this manipulation was a breach of journalistic ethics.[4]

With the onset of the AIDS epidemic, the Milk Club was an early advocate of closing down the city's gay bathhouses. The club also created some of the earliest safe sex education materials in the country.[5]


  1. ^ a b Shilts (1982), p. 150
  2. ^ Shilts (1982), p. 161
  3. ^ "The Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club". The Harvey Milk Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Democratic Club. August 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  4. ^ Rutledge, p. 152
  5. ^ Shilts (1987), p. 280

See also[edit]


  • Rutledge, Leigh (1992). The Gay Decades. New York, Penguin. ISBN 0-452-26810-9.
  • Shilts, Randy (1982). The Mayor of Castro Street. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-52331-9. 
  • Shilts, Randy (1987). And The Band Played On. New York, St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-00994-1.

External links[edit]