"My name is Harvey Milk, and I'm here to recruit you!"
The Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, one of San Francisco's largest Democratic clubs, is respected for its progressive history, political actions, empowering activists and members of marginalized backgrounds, and bolstering the resistance to status quo politics, changing rather than obeying power dynamics that leave members of our community out in the cold.
Founded in 1976 as the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club, it was the city's first Democratic club with the word "gay" in its name, a controversial and radical move at the time. The Club was renamed for Supervisor Harvey Milk after his assassination in 1978.
The Milk Club is a place for people to be political, left, and queer. It is also a Club founded to keep the LGBTQ community free of anointed gatekeepers and machine politics.
Although The Club is well into its fourth decade, its role has not changed. Consistently, it has supported solidly progressive issues in San Francisco. It was instrumental in electing progressive queers and pushing issues that have changed the world, from Harry Britt, Tom Ammiano, Carole Migden, Rafael Mandelman, and Tom Temprano, to early sex education about HIV, domestic partnerships, and safe injection facilities.
You do not have to be queer to be part of this club, and you certainly do not have to be a Democrat. It is a place for anyone who thinks there ought to be a place for queerness in the progressive struggle and a place for progressive politics in the queer community.
We embody the same cultural radicalism of those who joined the club 40 years ago. This is a club for queers, dykes, transgender people, people of color, sex workers, the differently abled, older people, heavy-set people, leather people, and people who do not want to fit in. It is also a place for political radicals and progressives who want to see a different world for women, labor, tenants, orphans, the unhoused, the undocumented, working-class folks, and the non-rich.
Radicals do not expect to engage in traditional politics throughout most of the country. In San Francisco, our club is expected to interrogate city officials and to shape their agendas for an inclusive future. Our preamble says "we demand nothing less" than full support for queer rights and nothing less than full support for progressive issues.