Today’s Solutions: December 04, 2021

Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay candidates elected to public office, but before he served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978, he was forced out of the Navy for his sexual orientation.

Milk served in the Navy for four years, but was forced to resign because he was gay. Milk’s experience was not unique, but last week, in an effort to “amend the wrongs of the past,” a Navy ship has been named to commemorate the gay rights leader. The ship was launched in San Diego Bay on Nov 6, after being christened with a bottle of champagne by former Navy officer Paula M. Neira, clinical program director for the John Hopkins Center for Transgender Health.

The ceremony was attended by Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, and Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro. “For far too long, sailors like Lt. Milk were forced into the shadows or, worse yet, forced out of our beloved Navy,” said Del Toro. “That injustice is part of our Navy history, but so is the perseverance of all who continue to serve in the face of injustice.”

The ship’s sponsorship was credited to Neira and U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein was in San Francisco City Hall when Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated in 1978. The hope is that the new ship will signal a changing of the tides and usher in a more inclusive era of Navy service. “Ship names are important because they express what we value as a Navy and as a nation and communicate those values around the globe in every port of call,” continued Del Toro.

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