Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Politics and gay activism were not his early interests; he was not open about his homosexuality and did not participate in civic matters until around the age of 40, after his experiences in the counterculture of the 1960s.
The Stonewall rebellion was a defining moment in the history of the gay rights movement. That uprising awakened gay men and lesbians to the idea that they were being attacked as a group. That, in turn, awakened them to the idea that they needed to organize as a group. Advocacy and lobbying groups mushroomed after Stonewall, and now include everything from nonprofit groups mounting anti-discrimination advertising campaigns to political action committees to housing and health-related initiatives.