Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 44 / 30 October 2014
 

Gay electeds, lesbian singer among invited guests for White House Milk stamp event

zne-jb-harveymilkA host of elected leaders and Grammy-nominated lesbian singer / songwriter Mary Lambert are among the invited guests to the White House unveiling of the Harvey Milk stamp next week.

The 49-cent forever Milk stamp will go on sale to the public Thursday, May 22, on what would have been his 84th birthday. The day is observed as Harvey Milk Day in California, which first declared the date a day of special significance in 2010.

The Milk stamp marks the first to be issued in honor of an American for their role in the fight for LGBT rights. Milk became the first openly gay person elected to public office in the Golden State when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

A year later he was assassinated along with then-Mayor George Moscone by disgruntled former supervisor Dan White. The idea of a Milk stamp first arose in the late 1980s, when San Francisco artist Jim Leff, a gay man who knew Milk, painted a mock-up of what such a stamp could look like.

As the Bay Area Reporter first disclosed in March, the U.S. Postal Service and the Harvey Milk Foundation opted to hold the official first day of issuance ceremony for theĀ  Milk stamp in Washington, D.C. in conjunction with the annual Harvey Milk Champions of Change event where President Barack Obama honors LGBT Americans who have made significant societal contributions.

This afternoon the Milk foundation released a list of guests expected to attend the White House ceremony set to take place at noon Pacific time. Among the announced attendees are Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco); and Stuart Milk, Harvey’s gay nephew who is a founder and president of the Milk foundation.

Two out politicians were on the list: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), the first openly LGBT person to serve in the Senate, and Evan Low, a gay man who serves on the Campbell City Council near San Jose.

Also on the list are Congressman John Lewis (D-Georgia), a longtime civil rights leader; Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman; Harvey Milk Foundation Co-Founder Anne Kronenberg, who was an aide to Milk; and Chuck Wolfe, President and CEO of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Institute.

Others not on the list who are expected to attend the ceremony include gay San Diego resident Nicole Murray-Ramirez, known as Empress Nicole the Great, The Queen Mother of the Americas within the Imperial Court System, who led a nationwide letter writing campaign urging the postal service to issue a Milk stamp; International Court Council President Rob Surreal, from Kennewick, Washington; and Emperor Michael Gaffney of Phoenix.

Lambert rose to stardom due to signing the hook on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s gay rights anthem “Same Love,” which she then remixed into her own song about same-sex love called “She Keeps Me Warm.”

As the B.A.R.‘s Political Notebook column reported today, the White House ceremony will not be the only unveiling for the Milk stamp next Thursday. Officials in San Francisco and Chico, California have planned their own ceremonies in the early evening of May 22.

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 15, 2014 @ 3:01 pm PST
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