The Morty Manford Award

The Morty Manford Award 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.

Morty Manford

September 17, 1950 - May 14, 1992
"I think time has proven that we did the right thing."
Morty Manford was an 18-year-old student at Columbia University when he witnessed the Stonewall Riots in 1969. From then on his life would be changed. An organizer of campus gay groups, he would be drawn deeper into the struggle for lesbian and gay liberation. Morty was one of the foremost leaders in the modern gay rights movement. He was born and raised in Flushing, Queens, and attended P.S. 32 and Stuyvesant and Bayside High Schools. His mother, Jeanne, is a retired school teacher, and his father, Jules, was a dentist. Morty joined the Gay Activists Alliance and in 1973 became its third president. In 1972, Morty organized a "zap" (a term he coined to describe his brand of protest) at the 50th annual Inner Circle dinner and lampoon show. Morty and a few friends invaded the affair in the Hilton Hotel ballroom to distribute leaflets. They were protesting the virtual blackout by the news media of lesbian and gay issues. They were ejected from the ballroom and, as they were leaving, were pursued and beaten. Several city officials who witnessed the event later testified that Michael Maye, then president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, threw Morty down an escalator and then kicked and stomped him. The incident called attention to the issue of anti-gay violence and to attempts to pass a city gay rights ordinance. In 1971, Morty took a leave of absence from his studies so he could organize lesbian and gay groups around the United States. He returned to school in 1976 and graduated from Cardozo Law School in 1981. He worked as a Legal Aid attorney in the Queens County criminal courts before finally accepting a position as an assistant New York State attorney general. It was also in 1972 that Morty's mother, Jeanne, marched in the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade. This is considered to be the start of the organization now called Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Morty continued to work for lesbian and gay liberation for the remainder of his life. He died in his parents' Flushing home on May 14, 1992, of complications from AIDS. He was 41 years old.

Previous Recipients

1993 D. Willas Miller,   Liaison to Lesbian and Gay community, Office of
                         Queens District Attorney
1994 Ed Sedarbaum,       Founder Queens Gay and Lesbian United (Q-GLU)
1995 Daniel P. Dromm,    Founder Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee (QLGPC)
1996 Maritza Martinez,   Significant contributions to the success of the
                         Lesbian and Gay liberation movement in Queens.
1997 Hank Krumholz       Queens Lesbian Gay Pride Committee (QLGPC)
1998 John Azzali,        Co-chairperson, Q-GLU; Health Jam Organizer
     Consuelo Celestine, Past President, NYC Chapter Lavender Lamps;
                         Prime Organizer, first Queens Health Jam for
                         the LGBT communities
     Neil Landreville,   Organizer and fundraiser for the first Queens
                         Health Jam for the LGBT communities
1999 Wayne Mahlke and
     Stewart Kessler
2000 John T. Moran
2001 Ralph Wilson        Regional Director, Empire State Pride Agenda
     Steven Sanders      NY State Assemblyman
2002 Barbra Ann Perina
     Ivan Lafayette      NYS Assemblyman
2003 Larry Menzie        Director Generation Q
2004 Philip Glotzer      Executive Directo, AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC)
2005 Nila Marrone        Past President, NYC Chapter PFLAG
2006 Dirk McCall         President, Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC
2007 Ari Gershman        Secretary of the Queens Lesbian Gay Pride Committee (QLGPC), 
2008 Marriage Equality New YorK
2009 Michael J Mallon
2010 Melissa Sklarz 
2011 Daniel P. Dromm,    NYC Council Member
     Mr. Michael Serao 
2012 Chris Calvert
2013 Hon. Corey Johnson, 
     Hon. Carlos Menchaca, and 
     Hon. Ritchie Torres 
2014 Fred Anguera
2015 Hon. Joseph Crowley
2016 Alan Reiff
2017 Caribbean Equality Project
2018 Lynn_Schulman
2019 Rod Townsend
2020 Bill Meehan
2021 Richard Wandel

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Last updated 7/22/2023 by LDN