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Harvey Milk Terminal signage to be made law

Officials in San Francisco have unanimously voted in favour of how the signs should look for the Harvey Milk Terminal at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

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The amended designs for the Harvey Milk signage. Photo: SFO

The dispute between airport officials, the Board of Supervisors in the city and LGBTQ advocates had been ongoing for some time, with the latter arguing that initial plans did not do justice for Harvey Milk’s legacy.

Initial designs had shown the words ‘Terminal 1’ in a large font above the words ‘Harvey Milk Terminal’, which appeared in a much smaller font. The designs led to complaints from Milk’s family and LGBTQ advocates who argued the design played down its new name.

Equality California, an LGBTQ advocacy group, even rescinded an award it had planned to give to San Francisco Airport at a local gala fundraiser in May.

Milk made history in the 1977 when he became the first openly gay elected official. He was assassinated after less than a year in office along with then-mayor George Moscone.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen introduced the ordinance to require the airport to give Milk’s name more prominence and following the omission of his name on internal signage in the designs, Ronen amended it to include Milk’s name on all signs for the terminal throughout the airport.

… the truth of the matter is it has been an uphill battle and a fight to the end every step of the way to name this terminal after Harvey Milk

Replacing all the signs in Terminal 1 is expected to cost around $1.3m (around £994,000) which meant the ordinance was sent back for review. The Board of Supervisors voted in agreeance with the new designs, but they must vote again on April 16th after which the ordinance will be sent to Mayor London Breed to sign into law.

The Bay Area Reporter published Ronen’s comments on the dispute: “… the truth of the matter is it has been an uphill battle and a fight to the end every step of the way to name this terminal after Harvey Milk, one of the most important civil rights leaders whose political career and life and legacy was born and raised right here in San Francisco.”

It was first suggested that the terminal be named after Milk by gay former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos in 2013, who initially put forward the idea to name all terminals at the airport after Milk.

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