LGBT civil rights leader Harvey Milk is being honored by the organization that kicked him out simply because he was gay.
On Nov. 6, the U.S. Navy dedicated the USNS Harvey Milk in San Diego, California.
“It’s the first major commercial ship named after an openly LGBTQ person,” Stuart Milk, Harvey’s nephew, told SFGN. “Obviously it’s the first naval ship named after someone like that.”
Stuart was in San Diego for the dedication ceremony.
Milk served as an officer in the Navy in the early 1950s, including during the Korean War. He was dismissed in 1955 for being homosexual despite a distinguished service record. The Navy later tried to correct the record, but Stuart refused.
“I was given the opportunity to reverse it, and I refused to. I think it’s important for us to realize society is often wrong, and has to move and has to evolve.”
This will make the USNS Milk stand out from any other ship in history.
“It’s the first military ship named after someone who had a dishonorable discharge.”
The ship will have two missions. The first is to refuel other ships around the world. The second is to educate.
“That’s the mandate of a ship, to teach who it’s named after. The 2,000 men and women who will serve on that ship will be teaching about the legacy and life of Harvey Milk.”
USNS Milk will pull into ports with the name clear for everyone to see.
“It will teach as it goes around the world to 30 countries where it’s still illegal to be LGBTQ. It will teach the message of Harvey Milk, why he sacrificed his life and tell the world it needs to continue to evolve.”
Milk’s legacy has been honored several times this year. Stolichnaya Vodka released a new bottle featuring him on the label. In September, Miami Beach named a street Harvey Milk Way, and last month the Diversity Honors, put on by The Milk Foundation, returned to the Hard Rock in Hollywood.