Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk, will speak on Friday at the Pride Advocacy Rally which kicks off this year’s Pittsburgh Pride festival in Pennsylvania.

Mr Milk was 17 when his uncle – the San Francisco County supervisor and first openly gay man to be elected to public office – was assassinated by former supervisor Dan White in 1978.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Don’t Stop Believing”. Speaking to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mr Milk said: “When the president gave me Harvey’s Medal of Freedom, he said, ‘Harvey gave us hope, all of us, hope unashamed, hope unafraid.’ That goes along with ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’ We have to have hope that’s unashamed, and hope that’s unafraid.”

In the light of recent events such as the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi in 2010 and a spate of similar tragedies in Houston and Fresno, California, Mr Milk said: “Unfortunately, my uncle’s message, which is at its very core for the LGBTQ community to be visible, is needed now more than ever.”

Mr Milk’s speech will reportedly concentrate on discussing societal equality – which he claims to see little of even in places where LGBT people have full legal equality. He will also speak on the globalisation of civil rights movements.

He said: “We have gay organisations that won’t work together, we have folks that won’t understand the transgender community, and we need to make sure that we are all-embracing [of] each other . . . we need to all agree that we are fighting the same thing, and that’s equality.”

In 2009 Mr Milk accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama on behalf of his late uncle.