Harvey Milk

Portrait of Harvey Milk surrounded by multimedia collage
SWD 5: Harvey Milk
“If I turned around every time someone called me a faggot, I’d be walking backwards.” Quote attributed to Harvey Milk.
Homage to assassinated San Francisco alderman & gay equality proponent Harvey Milk
Art: 2006.
Media: Pencil, gouache, gold ink, silver ink, india ink, colored pencil and a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) ‘Cleared-JFK’ metallic luggage sticker.
Framed, 30 inches H x 23 W

I based the cartoonish dancing figure at lower left on a quick pencil sketch I drew of a former girlfriend when she danced at a performance at On the Boards, Seattle, late 1980’s.

I bought the toy gun, mask, hair dryer, sheriff’s badge and handcuffs in a set of toys at a dollar store in Seattle, December 5, 2006. They were manufactured in mainland China.

A pillowcase I had at the time I was working on the drawing inspired the Tweety Bird cartoon character (lower left).

I drew the portrait of Milk from a photo by Daniel Nicoletta, p. 600, in the book The American Century, by Harold Evans (pub. by Knopf, NY, 1998.)

Milk was born May 22, 1930, Long Island, N.Y.; murdered Nov. 27, 1978, San Francisco. He was the first openly gay elected politician in the United States, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 2009.

A conservative and Barry Goldwater supporter in the 1964 Presidential election, Milk had enlisted in the Navy to fight for the U.S. during the Vietnam War. He was a deep sea diver and Chief Petty Officer on an aircraft carrier.

After it became known he was gay, he was dishonorably discharged. Later he moved to San Francisco, where he became one of the first openly gay politicians in America.

According to Evans, in 1978 Milk was shot in the head, execution style, by City Supervisor Dan White, an “All American churchgoer and veteran concerned about moral corruption in San Francisco.” (San Francisco had, a large gay and lesbian population.)

White also murdered San Francisco Mayor George Moscone at point blank range with bullets to the head.

White’s attorneys pled “The Twinkie Defense,” claiming his consumption of junk food caused him to be irrational. White served seven years, eight months of his eight and a half years-long sentence and committed suicide within a year of his release.

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