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Inspirational Harvey Milk Quotes That Will Remind You of the Importance of Being True to Yourself

These Harvey Milk quotes from the visionary politician will inspire you to be true to yourself, no matter who might be against you.

Harvey Milk was an American politician based in San Francisco, California and an openly gay man. He was the first openly gay politician to ever be elected in the history of California.

Milk was a well-known member of society and liked for his sense of humor. Milk served almost 11 months in office before he was assassinated by Dan White, a former San Francisco Supervisor.

Though he was only in office for a short time, Milk managed to successfully spearhead many progressive changes in California, including pushing an anti-discrimination law protecting members of the LGBT community. In addition to gay rights, Milk also supported many policies that would make San Francisco a cleaner, safer and less expensive place to live.

These inspirational Harvey Milk quotes speak of the importance of fighting for what is right and always being true to who you are.

Don’t forget to also check out these LGBTQ quotes celebrating pride and love.

Harvey Milk quotes on human rights

1. “It takes no compromise to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.” – Harvey Milk

2. “All men [people] are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.” – Harvey Milk

3. “I have tasted freedom. I will not give up that which I have tasted.” – Harvey Milk

4. “Worry about becoming a human being and not about how you can prevent others from enjoying their lives because of your own inability to adjust to life.” – Harvey Milk

5. “Rights are won only by those who make their voices heard.” – Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk quotes on activism

6. “I fully realize that a person who stands for what I stand for, an activist, a gay activist, becomes the target or the potential target for a person who is insecure, terrified, afraid, or very disturbed with themselves.” – Harvey Milk

7. “Unless you have dialogue, unless you open the walls of dialogue, you can never reach to change people’s opinion.” – Harvey Milk

8. “I cannot prevent anyone from getting angry, or mad, or frustrated. I can only hope that they’ll turn that anger and frustration and madness into something positive, so that two, three, four, five hundred will step forward, so the gay doctors will come out, the gay lawyers, the gay judges, gay bankers, gay architects I hope that every professional gay will say ‘enough’, come forward and tell everybody, wear a sign, let the world know. Maybe that will help.” – Harvey Milk

9. “I finally reached the point where I knew I had to become involved or shut up.” – Harvey Milk

10. “I have always considered myself part of a movement, part of a candidacy. I considered the movement the candidate. I think that there’s a distinction between those who use the movement and those who are part of the movement.” – Harvey Milk

11. “I think I was always part of the movement. I wish I had time to explain everything I did. Almost everything was done with an eye on the gay movement.” – Harvey Milk

12. “Last week I got a phone call from Altoona, Pennsylvania, and the voice was young, my election gave one more young person, hope.” – Harvey Milk

13. “Get out of the bars and into the streets!” – Harvey Milk

14. “We will not win our rights by staying quietly in our closets” – Harvey Milk

15. The events that started the American Revolution were the meetings in homes, pubs, on street corners. – Harvey Milk

16. “Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up.” – Harvey Milk

17. “It’s not my victory, it’s yours and yours and yours.” – Harvey Milk

18. “Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up and start to fight.” – Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk quotes on politics

19. “Some people call me the unofficial mayor of Castro Street.” – Harvey Milk

20. “Let me have my tax money go for my protection and not for my prosecution. Let my tax money go for the protection of me.” – Harvey Milk

21. “We don’t want sympathetic liberals, we want gays to represent gays… I represent the gay street people-the 14-year-old runaway from San Antonio. We have to make up for hundreds of years of persecution. We have to give hope to that poor runaway kid from San Antonio. They go to the bars because churches are hostile. They need hope! They need a piece of the pie.” – Harvey Milk

22. “Gay brothers and sisters … You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth.” – Harvey Milk

23. “Politics is theater. It doesn’t matter if you win. You make a statement. You say, I’m here, pay attention to me.” – Harvey Milk

24. “Coming out is the most political thing you can do.” – Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk quotes on being true to who you are

25. “If you are not personally free to be yourself in that most important of all human activities—the expression of love—then life itself loses its meaning.” – Harvey Milk

26. “All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.” – Harvey Milk

27. “All over the country, they’re reading about me, and the story doesn’t center on me being gay. It’s just about a gay person who is doing his job.” – Harvey Milk

28. “If I turned around every time somebody called me a faggot, I’d be walking backward – and I don’t want to walk backward.” – Harvey Milk

29. “I like to sit in the window and watch the cute boys walk by.” – Harvey Milk

30. “If I do a good job, people won’t care if I am green or have three heads.” – Harvey Milk

31. “Every gay person must come out. As difficult as it is, you must tell your immediate family. You must tell your relatives. You must tell your friends if indeed they are your friends. You must tell the people you work with. You must tell the people in the stores you shop in. Once they realize that we are indeed their children, that we are indeed everywhere, every myth, every lie, every innuendo will be destroyed once and all. And once you do, you will feel so much better.” – Harvey Milk

32. “If every gay person were to come out only to his/her own family, friends, neighbors and fellow workers, within days the entire state would discover that we are not the stereotypes generally assumed.” – Harvey Milk

33. “We are coming out to tell the truths about gays, for I am tired of the conspiracy of silence, so I’m going to talk about it. And I want you to talk about it.” – Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk quotes about hope

34. “Hope will never be silent.” – Harvey Milk

35. “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” – Harvey Milk

36. “I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living.” – Harvey Milk

37. “You gotta give em hope.” – Harvey Milk

38. “The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right.” – Harvey Milk

39. “If a gay can win, it means there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We’ve given them hope.” – Harvey Milk

40. “Without hope, life’s not worth living.” – Harvey Milk

41. “It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone.” – Harvey Milk

More inspirational Harvey Milk quotes

42. “To sit on the front steps — whether it’s a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city — and to talk to our neighborhoods is infinitely more important than to huddle on the living-room lounger and watch a make-believe world in not-quite living color.” – Harvey Milk

43. “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.” – Harvey Milk

44. “The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, that my friends, that is true perversion.” – Harvey Milk

45. “I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up, and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine.” – Harvey Milk
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of insightful lawyer quotes about justice for all.

46. “I was born of heterosexual parents. I was taught by heterosexual teachers in a fiercely heterosexual society. Television ads and newspaper ads — fiercely heterosexual. A society that puts down homosexuality. And why am I a homosexual if I’m affected by role models? I should have been a heterosexual. And no offense meant, but if teachers are going to affect you as role models, there’d be a lot of nuns running around the streets today.” – Harvey Milk

47. “Once you have dialogue starting, you know you can break down prejudice.” – Harvey Milk

48. “Freedom is too enormous to be slipped under a closet door.” – Harvey Milk

49. “Let’s make no mistake about this: The American Dream starts with the neighborhoods. If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods. And to do that, we must understand that the quality of life is more important than the standard of living.” – Harvey Milk

50. “It takes no political deal to give people freedom.” – Harvey Milk

Did these Harvey Milk quotes inspire you to fight for what is right?

Harvey Milk spent his life fighting for human rights. He created immense change in California that rippled out to the rest of the country, creating a better, safer, and more accepting world.

And though he faced immense adversity, Harvey Milk never backed down. He influenced the lives of millions of people and died a martyr. 

These Harvey Milk quotes remind us of the importance of standing up for what you believe in. They remind us that everyone deserves fundamental human rights, regardless of their sexual orientation, skin tone, religious beliefs, or any other distinction. 

Let the quotes above inspire you to stay true to yourself, no matter who you are.

Did you enjoy these Harvey Milk quotes and sayings? Which quote was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below

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