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social sciences

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Manford, Morty (1950-1992)  
 
page: 1  2  3  

Jeanne and Jules Manford called the fledgling group Parents of Gays. Some twenty people attended the first meeting.

"It was very slow at the beginning," stated Jeanne Manford, noting that some subsequent meetings drew only three or four people, "but we always felt that if we helped one person, it was worth the effort."

Sponsor Message.

Though the start may have been halting and the scope at first limited, the results of the Manfords' initiative have been enormous: Parents of Gays grew into PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), which, as of 2007 had some 500 chapters and more than 200,000 members and supporters.

Marty Manford resumed his collegiate studies at Columbia in 1976. He found the mood on campus changed--less questioning, less challenging--and sensed a similar direction in the glbtq rights movement, with an emphasis on "the idea of gay respectability . . . an antiactivist type of gay theology."

Manford felt that the approach to gaining equal rights was not an either-or proposition: "I believed then, and I believe now, that the movement needs both activists and establishment people," he told Marcus. "The activists make it possible for the more establishment-oriented gays to gain entrée. The activists break down barriers that it would take the more conservative types years to do, if they could do it at all."

After completing his degree at Columbia, Manford attended the Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University. Upon graduation, he spent four years with the Legal Aid Society of New York representing indigent defendants before receiving an appointment as an assistant state attorney general in 1986.

When he was diagnosed with AIDS, Manford returned to the home of his mother, a widow since 1982, and died there on May 14, 1992.

Jeanne Manford continued to be a leader and the cherished matriarch of the Queens chapter of PFLAG, providing support and guidance to its members. She also worked tirelessly as an advocate, a role that she could not have envisioned for herself two decades before.

"I'm very shy," she said in her interview with Marcus. "I was not the type of person who belonged to organizations [prior to the Inner Circle incident]. I never tried to do anything. But I wasn't going to let anybody walk over Morty."

That love and commitment transformed her into an activist who insisted on meetings with political leaders to demand support for equal rights and funding for social services programs. Because of her determination, "she knocked down doors for us that may otherwise not have been knocked down," stated Ed Sedarbaum, the director of Senior Action in a Gay Environment (SAGE).

Jeanne Manford moved to Minnesota in 1996 to help her daughter's family by caring for her great-granddaughter while her granddaughter pursued medical studies at the Mayo Clinic.

Since 1993 the Queens chapter of PFLAG that she founded has bestowed the Morty Manford Award, which "recognizes an individual or organization whose work on behalf of the lesbian and gay community of Queens best exemplifies the pioneering political spirit of the late Morty Manford, and who serves as a positive and visible role model for gay men and lesbians."

Linda Rapp

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social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

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social sciences >> Overview:  New York City

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Early in the gay rights movement activists challenged organized labor to broaden its struggle against discrimination to include sexual identity; consequently labor unions became some of the first mainstream organizations to call for equal rights.

social sciences >> Gay Activists Alliance

An important organization of the early post-Stonewall era, the Gay Activists Alliance, which flourished from 1969 to 1974, strove to give gay men and lesbians visibility in American politics.

social sciences >> Gittings, Barbara

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social sciences >> Kameny, Frank

One of the founding fathers of the American gay rights movement, Frank Kameny helped radicalize the homophile movement, preparing the way for the mass movement for equality initiated by the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

social sciences >> Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), an American organization of some 460 affiliated chapters and 80,000 members, works to support glbtq people and their loved ones.

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.

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    Bibliography
   

Eisenbach, David. Gay Power: An American Revolution. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006.

Fosburgh, Lacey. "Attack Charges Denied by Maye." New York Times (June 28, 1972): 46.

Klemesrud, Judy. "For Homosexuals, It's Getting Less Difficult to Tell Parents." New York Times (April 25, 1972): 32.

Lii, Jane H. "A Movement Misses Its Nurturing Mother." New York Times (November 8, 1996): CY9.

Marcus, Eric. Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. 197-212, 237-249.

"The Morty Manford Award." www.pflag-queens.org/morty.html.

Pace, Eric. "Official Accuses Maye of Assault." New York Times (April 25, 1972): 11.

PFLAG web site: www.pflag.org

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Manford, Morty  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2007  
    Date Last Updated November 29, 2007  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/manford_morty.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2007 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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