'He Was Our Leader and He Is Gone': Alum Cleve Jones on Harvey Milk's Legacy

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

THE GUARDIAN -- More than 500 LGBTQ politicians hold public office in the U.S. They are city council members, mayors, members of Congress, state legislators, even governors. Hundreds more have been elected in countries around the world, including four heads of state. But 40 years ago, only a handful of gay men and lesbians had been elected to office. One of them was my friend Harvey Milk.

Harvey was charismatic, funny and something of a father figure to me. He was one of the first people to tell me that I had value as a human being and that I didn’t need to change.

I worked for Harvey as a student intern in San Francisco city hall, earning credit in the Political Science program at San Francisco State University. I got to work early on November 27, 1978, but Harvey needed to see a file that I had left in my apartment on Castro Street and sent me home to retrieve it. As I left my apartment, I heard someone shout that Mayor George Moscone had been shot. I flagged down a taxi and told the driver to get me back to City Hall.