Harvey Milk Foundation awards medal to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

The Harvey Milk Medal is seen as one of the most significant recognitions from the LBGT human rights community. Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk and co-founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, presented the award to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

excerpt from Sec-Gen's remarks: I have been travelling to many countries and where there was discrimination, I talked to Heads of State or Government. Sometimes, I have been successful.

One day, for example, in  [Malawi] there was [a] gay couple that was put in prison for many years. It became big news in the world. So I told [the president], “this is a violation of human rights principles; can you release them? I’m not going to say publicly but if you release them, I will welcome your decision. He said that I don’t agree with your point but since you are the Secretary-General of the United Nations, saying and asking for that, I will consider what I can do”.

I thought that it would take about two or three months for his decision. Then, when we were having a joint press conference, he announced, “I’m pardoning this couple, right now.” Then they were set free on the same day. [...] I was successful. But in some other countries, when I raise this issue, of course, we have some confrontational dialogue. But they listen to my appeal, and I will continue to help those who are being discriminated. Read the full speech