The USNS Harvey Milk replenishment oiler was christened in the shipyard as a bottle of champagne was popped open on the ship by ex-Navy officer Paula M. Neira. Neira is the clinical program director for the John Hopkins Center for Transgender Health.
Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, and Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro attended the event.
“The secretary of the Navy needed to be here today, not just to amend the wrongs of the past, but to give inspiration to all of our LGBTQ community leaders who served in the Navy, in uniform today and in the civilian workforce as well too, and to tell them that we’re committed to them in the future,” Del Toro said.
“For far too long, sailors like Lt. Milk were forced into the shadows or, worse yet, forced out of our beloved Navy,” he added. “That injustice is part of our Navy history, but so is the perseverance of all who continue to serve in the face of injustice.”