San Francisco airport terminal to be renamed in honour of Harvey Milk

A terminal at San Francisco International Airport is set to be renamed in honour of Harvey Milk.

Milk, the first openly gay politician to be elected in America, was assassinated in November 1978.

The San Francisco politician had united the local gay community and made several attempts to get elected, making it onto the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

He only held his position for 11 months before being assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.

Milk’s rise to power and subsequent assassination was a watershed moment for the LGBT rights movement, sparking anger at the homophobic persecution still present in society.

Harvey Milk’s assassination in 1978 brought new interest in LGBT politics

A terminal at SFO is now set to be renamed in his honour.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Subcommittee is today set to advance an ordinance “amending the Administrative Code to name Terminal 1 of the San Francisco International Airport after former Supervisor Harvey Milk”.

It says: “Harvey Milk believed strongly that we have to give hope to young people who still (as in Milk’s day) suffer bullying in schoolyards, anti-gay violence from family and others, and psychological damage from growing up in a homophobic and transphobic society.

“In order to honor one of the nation’s great gay leaders, raise awareness of the history of the LGBT movement, and give hope to young LGBT people in cities everywhere, the Board of Supervisors finds it fitting that a terminal at the San Francisco International Airport be named in honor of Harvey Milk.”

Under the plan the airport’s Terminal 1, which is currently being reconstructed and expected to re-open in 2022, would be given the name.


LGBT campaigners had originally wanted the entire airport named in honour of Milk – but Supervisor Jeff Sheehy said it would have required a much longer battle.

He told the SF Examiner: “I know that’s what people were fighting for.

“The amount of effort that it would have taken to do that when we have a lot of things we need to work on in the community – it would have been fun to have it named after Harvey but we what we have now is a good compromise.”

After it passes the committee, the proposal will go before the full board on April 3.

Mayor Mark Farrell said: “I fully support the renaming of San Francisco International Airport Terminal 1 to honor Harvey Milk, just as I did while serving as Supervisor.

“If there is public support to consider other renamings for notable San Franciscans like the late Mayor Ed Lee or Senator Feinstein, then I want the Airport Commission to re-engage its committee process.”

Milk is remembered as an LGBT rights hero in San Francisco.

A plaza in San Francisco’s Castro District is dedicated to his memory, known as Harvey Milk Memorial Plaza.

The Human Rights Campaign wrote: “Despite his short time in office, Milk’s contributions and influence the fight for LGBTQ equality live on in the work of activists and allies throughout the U.S. and around the world.

“Milk envisioned a place where all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated equally. HRC, as well as countless other LGBTQ organizations, pro-equality lawmakers and supporters, share that vision and strive every day to make full equality a reality for millions of LGBTQ people.

“During these uncertain times, it is more vital than ever that we, as a community, continue to work tirelessly towards achieving what Milk sacrificed his life for — equality and justice for all.”

The State of California annually marks Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a statewide day of significance, and under President Barack Obama the day was marked by the White House. The festivities were skipped in 2017 under President Trump.

On Harvey Milk Day in 2014, the Postal Service launched a Harvey Milk memorial stamp at a White House ceremony.

The stamp was boycotted by anti-LGBT groups, with the American Family Association rejecting a $10 donation because it was sent in an envelope with a commemorative Harvey Milk stamp on.

Last year, a US Navy ship was named in honour of Harvey Milk.