AOC’s Suggestion To Rename Queens Post Office Honoring LGBTQ Rights Pioneers Angers Activists


A proposal by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to consider renaming a Queens post office that honors LGBTQ rights pioneers is sparking outrage among local activists.

Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens, Bronx) is soliciting suggestions for the Jeanne and Jules Manford Post Office Building in Jackson Heights, a representative for the congresswoman’s office told Community Board 3 in Queens last week.

Jeanne Manford is considered to have been the first parent to march with their child in an LGBTQ parade a half century ago. She went on to found PFLAG, the country’s first LGBTQ group designed to build solidarity between parents and LGBTQ children, with support from her husband, Jules.

A name change would “erase our history,” fumed former City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), who worked with AOC’s predecessor Joseph Crowley to name the post office for the Manfords five years ago.

“Is it that she doesn’t know our history? Did they not check to see who the post office is named after right now? Does she not know who Jeanne Manford was?” Dromm said to the Daily News on Sunday.

An Ocasio-Cortez spokeswoman said it’s typical for members of Congress to consider new names for local post offices and suggestions are being sought for a Corona, Queens, post office as well.

She said the congresswoman is “very open” to keeping the Manford name.

“We’ll consider all community input,” AOC spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told The News. “It seemed like a small but interesting way to engage our community in the legislative process.”

The renaming idea began with a community suggestion to honor the late LGBTQ activist Lorena Borjas, according to Hitt.

“You don’t take one pioneer of the LGBT movement and pit them against another person,” Dromm said.

Longtime LGBTQ activist Allen Roskoff, the head of the influential Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, also denounced the proposal.

“How dare she put our community’s heritage up for a popularity contest or a vote,” he said. “We are outraged.”

Dromm and Roskoff, both progressive veterans of LGBTQ struggles, said they generally support Ocasio-Cortez.

“I like her policies, but this is typical of her not being connected to the community,” said Dromm, who helped Jeanne Manford found PFLAG’s Queens chapter and left the Council due to term limits at the end of last year.

The Manfords and their son Morty are deceased, he noted.

“We have been hidden from the public for so many years,” Dromm said. “We want to create that visibility for the community and keep that history alive.”