NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A special ceremony was held Saturday to dedicate the Jackson Heights, Queens post office to a local couple who decades ago stood up for their gay son and inspired other parents to do the same.
Jeanne and Jules Manford formed the group now known as PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, after their son, Morty, was brutally beaten when he was arrested during a peaceful protest, 1010 WINS Samantha Liebman reported.
Suzanne Swan said her mother’s activism started with a letter to the editor published in the New York Post in the early 1970s.
“The fact that a mother came out and recognized that her son was gay and that she loved him was big news among that community at that time,” she told Liebman.
Swan also recalled when her mother took part in the Gay Pride parade in 1972, carrying a sign that said, “Parents of gays unite in support of our children.”
“People were roaring and screaming. She thought it was for Dr. Spock, who was walking directly behind her,” she said. “Then, they came over, and they cried, and they kissed her, and they hugged her, and they begged her to talk to their families.”
“It was never even a question. It was just that they loved their children very, very much. It all came from a place of truth and honesty,” the couple’s granddaughter added.
The idea to dedicate the post office came from Councilman Daniel Dromm and Representative Joseph Crowley.
“This is the type of history that we want people to know about,” Dromm said.
“It’s a great thing to have here in the heart of Jackson Heights, where the second-largest Gay Pride parade takes place and marches by,” Crowley added.
Swan said her parents would have been proud.
“To have this recognition is just so unbelievable. They loved Queens, they lived here their whole lives,” she said. “I hope they’re looking down and know this is happening.”