Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician, and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. He served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. His biggest victory was the month of his death. He was instrumental in the defeat of The Briggs Initiative that would have barred open homosexuals from teaching positions in his district. Although public opinion polls predicted its passage, he was able to mobilize enough people to vote no. It is also worth noting that then-governor Ronald Reagan publicly opposed the Proposition which helped its defeat. On November 27, 1978, he and Mayor George Moscone were shot and killed by Dan White, a disgruntled, Democratic former Supervisor who had resigned earlier.
At his trial, Dan White's lawyers insisted that his judgment had been impaired by depression caused by a poor diet. This argument (dubbed the "twinkie defense" by the media) led to a lenient sentence, provoking rioting and protests within San Francisco's gay community