LGBT pride patriots

  • Published
  • By Amylynn Whetzell
  • Pride Month Committee
Throughout history, there are some whose courage effect positive change for future generations. This week, we again recognize the pride patriots who sacrificed, forged, fought, and paved the way for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, equality.

Harvey Milk is the first known openly gay man elected to public office in California. In 1977 he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Among his accomplishments, Milk was responsible for passing a gay rights ordinance. This ordinance enabled members of the LGBT community greater freedom in with their sexuality.

Eleven months into his term as an elected official, Milk was assassinated.

In 2002, Raymond Smith and Donald Hiader-Markel, who authored, "Gay and Lesbian Americans and Political Participation," said that Milk was the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States.

In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contribution to the gay rights movement stating, "he fought discrimination with visionary courage and conviction."

Aubrey Sarvis was named The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, or SLDN, executive director in 2007. According to their website, SLDN is a national, non-profit policy advocacy, legal services and watchdog organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected under the now repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and related forms of intolerance.

In accepting the appointment, Sarvis said, "I am humbled and honored to stand side-by-side with America's LGBT servicemembers, and to help them achieve the full measure of dignity and equality they deserve."

Sarvis was instrumental in persuading Capitol Hill to join the fight for the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell." His efforts saw fruition when DADT was repealed in 2011, allowing servicemembers to openly serve in the military.

Richard Frank Adams was a Filipino-American gay rights activist.

After his 1975 same-sex marriage was declared invalid for the purposes of granting his husband permanent residency, he filed a federal lawsuit, Adams v. Howerton. This was the first lawsuit in America to seek recognition of a same-sex marriage by the federal government.

Although losing the lawsuit, thanks to patriots like him, today same-sex couples are afforded the same rights to sponsor their partners for citizenship as allowed by heterosexual counterparts.