In 1972, Harvey Milk, an American politician who became the first openly gay person to be elected to public office, opened Castro Camera at 575 Castro Street (in between 18th and 19th Streets) and lived above the store with his partner.
Harvey Milk was an avid amateur photographer and opened the camera shop with his then-partner, Scott Smith, using the last $1,000 of their savings. Not only did they sell cameras and film, but the camera shop also became the center of the neighborhoods’ growing gay community and headquarters for Milk’s gay rights campaigning.
Because he was so well known for promoting gay rights, businesses and the community, Milk became the unofficial "Mayor of Castro Street." Many people from Milk’s inner circle, including the photographer Daniel Nicoletta, Milk’s campaign manager Anne Kronenberg and his speechwriter Frank Robinson, worked at the store with Milk.
After his assassination in 1978, Castro Camera became an art gallery and then the Human Rights Campaign Store in 2011. The store was recreated as a set for the movie Milk, a biopic of Milk’s life, and was carefully built to reflect the original detail including an old red couch and barber's chair. The set was so good, it drew the attention of many local residents who remembered the original.
If you step outside the store and look up, you’ll see a painting of Harvey Milk and his motto, "You gotta give ‘em hope!"
Human Rights Campaign Action Center and Store
The Human Rights Campaign Store is not only your one-stop-shop for LGBT and HRC apparel and gifts, but they’ll be your unofficial tour guides of the Castro District!
San Francisco has always been a key figure the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement. Whether you're visiting for the San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade or the Castro Street Fair, stop by the San Francisco Human Rights Campaign Store. The San Francisco Store offers a wide spectrum of merchandise featuring the signature Human Rights Campaign's equality logo. Our apparel selection includes t-shirt, sweatshirt, jackets and caps. We also offer a wide variety of merchandise including key chains, lapel pins, bracelets, necklaces and sterling silver jewelry. In addition to merchandise with HRC’s signature ‘equal’ logo, the Action Center and Store will also offer items emblazoned with the words and images of Harvey Milk. 100% of proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to local organizations that continue to carry on the legacy of Harvey Milk.