Some Significant People and Activists:

Harvey Milk-
Harvey Milk was one of the most important members of the Gay Rights Movement in the 1970s. His life and his death were some of the good examples of the struggles gays are facing everyday. Harvey Milk was born in Woodmere, New York in 1930. When he was a kid he kept his sexuality largely to himself. He joined the U.S. Army and was discharged in 1955 earning several ranks while in service. He moved to San Francisco with his partner Scott Smith and became interested in politics. He soon looked for a way to attain better rights for the GLBT (Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender) community. In 1977 he was elected in San Francisco’s Board of Directors. He was the first openly gay elected official in San Francisco political history after three unsuccessful tries. Due to his influence, the city attempted to hire more gay police officers.
He died on November 27th, 1978. He was murderd along with mayor George Moscone, by Dan White. Dan Whiexternal image harveymilk.jpgte quit his job to protest against gay rights. Dan White went on a trial called the "Twinkie Defense" because his lawyer argued that due to his large intake of junk food lead to his killing of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Fortunately they found him guilty, but charged him for minimum years in prison. Harvey Milk continues to be a figure of inspiration for many in the gay community who are still fighting for equal rights.

Matthew Shepard-

Matthew Shepard was born on December 1, 1976 and died on October 12, 1998. That seems kinda short doesn’t it? Shepard’s was a 21 year old student attending the University of Wyoming when he was murdered. Matthew was described as an open and gifted at accepting people for whoever they were. This lead to his strong point of view on equality. One time when Shepards was on a high school trip to Morocco he was beaten and raped. This turned into a long time depression and constant panic attacks. This period in his life was very hard onexternal image matthew_shepard.jpg him and made him question whether or not he should commit suicide. A couple days later after his thoughts of suicide he met up with Aaron Mckinny and Russell Henderson who offered him a ride home from the Fireside Lounge. After admitting he was gay to both men he was suddenly whipped and beaten and later hung to a tree. Matthew was found in a rural area by Aaron Kreifels still alive by in a coma. Matthew suffered from severe injuries and later died that night in the hospital. During the trail both accused men pleaded the “gay panic defense” and also stated that they only wanted to rob him and never intended on killing him. This was one of the first cases that really brought attention to the issue of hate crime towards homosexuals. The Mathew Shepard Foundation was soon founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard in honor of their deceased son. This group was to help bring global attention to the problem of hate crimes towards gays.
Anita Bryant-

Anita Bryant was a women with a strong opinion. There was nothing about her that she put only half of her heart into. She was also very religious, but a singer and beauty queen at heart. Byrant was known for being very vocal about gay rights, but not for their rights she was strongly against them. One of her peaks that she played a major role in was Harvey Milks era. She was constantly fighting against him to make sure that he didn’t succeed to getting the supervisor seat in San Francisco. Anita also had a strong view on the american family. She felt that if homosexuals were to have to vote to get married then it would ruined the american family unit. Her speeches made her famous as she toured around telling people of the “sickness” that homosexuals were causing. Because of her super star past many people listened and admired this women which made it harder for gays to fight against. She had many followers helping and supporting her along to way for the fight against gay rights. Fortunately, like many rivals of movements Anita Bryant sparked anger for the gays which made them act out even more. This lead to pickets, petitions, and boycotts of Florida orange juice. Even though Bryant was very outspoken about her opinion against gay rights, she helped spark the momentum for the next gay right acts.

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