- Morty Manford
- Teenaged Morty Manford came of age in the 1960s, at a time when psychiatrists often did more harm than good with young people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality in a world that had nothing nice to say about homosexuals. But once Morty settled his internal civil war, he jumped with both feet into a social justice movement that would change how he saw himself and how the world thought of and treated LGBTQ people.
From 1970 until he returned to college at Columbia University in the mid-1970s, Morty’s primary involvement was with the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), where he ultimately became president. He also co-founded, with his mother Jeanne Manford, an organization for parents of gay people that today is known as PFLAG. You can hear Morty and Jeanne tell that story in their Making Gay History Season One episode, which I recommend listening to before listening to this episode.
Morty Manford’s papers are housed at the New York Public Library. You can learn more about the collection and read a summary of Morty’s life and contributions to the movement here.
CountyHistorian.com also offers an overview of Morty’s life and includes a long list of articles for anyone interested in more detailed background on Morty, his contributions, and the times in which he lived. You can find the entry about Morty here.
You can read Morty’s oral history in the 1992 edition of Making Gay History.
Morty speaks about both the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA). For a brief summary about the two organizations and their differences, read this article by Linda Rapp from the GLBTQ Archive. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) kept files on the GAA and the organization’s activities.
From 1971 to 1974, GAA was headquartered in this firehouse in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. You can read about GAA members storming the offices of Harper’s Magazine in 1970 to protest a recently published a homophobic article here.
A pivotal event in Morty’s life was witnessing a 1970 march through Greenwich Village in protest against a police raid of the Snake Pit bar. In his Making Gay History interview Morty states that the raid took place in February 1970. It was in fact March 8, 1970. The NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project has an entry for the Snake Pit bar on their website, which includes photographs of the raid, a flyer calling for a protest (the one that caught Morty’s attention), and an article published in the New York Times the day after the protest.
- 2017-12-28 08:00:00 UTC