In 1972, as Jeanne and Jules Manford watched their local newscast, they saw their son Morton beaten during a gay protest at a New York City hotel, as police did nothing. Their anger galvanized them into action.

Jeanne wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Post saying simply, "My son is a homosexual, and I love him." The Manfords soon appeared on more than twenty talk shows, as parents in support of their gay children.

In 1972, Jeanne marched with her son in the New York City Pride Parade, carrying a sign saying, "Parents of Gays: United in support for our children." Of course, the crowd embraced her.

Within a year, she'd formed a parent support group in New York City. Her idea had blossomed into the national organization called PFLAG - Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

It's no wonder PFLAG gets the loudest applause at Pride Parades all across America.

This Rainbow Minute is read by Mary Gay Hutcherson.

Gilbert Baker - Creator of the Rainbow Flag, The Omnipresent Symbol of Gay Pride

Gilbert Baker was born in Kansas in 1951 and years later arrived in San Francisco. He came out in the early 70s and met gay activist icon, Harvey Milk, who inspired him to get involved. Baker was known for creating bold and colorful banners for gay protests and events and Milk convinced Baker to create a flag design for the growing gay movement.

As the gay movement was taking shape in 1978, the Rainbow Flag served as a rallying cry to fight the anti-gay rhetoric of Anita Bryant. Originally designed as an eight-color striped flag by Baker, it was reduced to a seven-striped flag because hot pink was not available for mass production. One year later, it lost the color indigo in memory of Harvey Milk's death.

Today, the six-color flag is recognized by the International Congress of Flag Makers as the official gay pride flag.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Dustin Richardson.

Henry Gerber, Gay Rights Organization Founder

Henry Gerber was born in Bavaria in 1892. In 1913, he emigrated to America and settled in Chicago. He became inspired by Magnus Hirshfeld's courageous work for gay rights in Germany, while stationed there.

After returning to Chicago's emerging gay subculture, he and several friends founded the first official gay rights organization in America, called the Society for Human Rights.

Gerber created the first underground gay publication, called "Friendship and Freedom."  But it was short-lived. Acting on a tip, police discovered papers from the society and arrested all its members. After three costly court cases the charges were dismissed, but Gerber lost his job and his life savings. In the 60s, he resumed writing for the Mattachine Society.

Henry Gerber lived just long enough to witness the Stonewall Rebellion – the birth of the gay liberation movement – before his death.

This Rainbow Minute is read by Tom Miller.

Barbara Jordan, Stateswoman and Orator

Barbara Jordan was born in Texas in 1936. Beginning her career in law, she yearned for a role in political change. She worked for the local Democratic Party, speaking out on contemporary issues.

In 1966, Barbara's political charisma secured her a seat in the Texas Senate. Six years later, she was the first black woman from a southern state elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the late 60s, she met psychologist Nancy Earl. Hiding her lesbianism for the sake of her career, she publicly portrayed Nancy as just a close friend. Yet they shared a home as a devoted couple for 30 years.   

In 1994, Barbara was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

When she died in 1996, the press hounded Nancy for details about their private life. But she refused, in her last act of loyalty to the woman she loved.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Candace Gingrich.

Gertrude Stein, Out Lesbian Across the Centuries

This Rainbow Minute was read by Candace Gingrich.

Gertrude Stein was born in Pennsylvania in 1874. As a young woman, she discovered a passion for writing and moved to Paris. Her books were always controversial, but she became famous in light of her persona – a mannish, avant-garde intellectual.

In 1907, she met Alice B. Toklas, who would become her lifetime companion. Since Gertrude was an avid arts patron, their home became a popular hangout for famous artists and writers such as Picasso and Hemmingway. She would lead lofty discussion about art, while Alice cooked and kept house

In the 30s, they traveled to America to promote one of Gertrude's books, as the world's most famous lesbian couple. The radiance of their 39-year relationship was captured in Gertrude's written word:

How prettily we swim – not in water – not on land – but in love.

Dr. Louise Pearce - Renowned Woman Scientist of Her Time

The Rainbow Minute, read by Mary Gay Hutcherson

Dr. Louise Pearce was one of the leading women scientists of the early 20th century. She traveled to the Belgian Congo with drugs she'd helped develop to treat African sleeping sickness, testing it on 70 patients with miraculous results.

Eleanor Roosevelt's Love Letters

Eleanor Roosevelt, the controversial first lady of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was a crusader for women's rights, civil rights for African Americans, world peace and the plight of the poor. As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, she often addressed issues of international human rights.

In many ways, Eleanor led a life apart from her husband. She met Associated Press sports reporter Lorena Hickok shortly before 1932 and wore a sapphire ring she'd given her while still living in the White House. Wanting to be closer to Eleanor, Lorena left her reporting job and worked in the Roosevelt administration. They often found time together, and when apart exchanged thousands of letters over a period of thirty years.

Many of the letters from Lorena to Eleanor were destroyed. But Lorena made arrangements for the letters she'd received from Eleanor to be published upon her death. In one letter, Eleanor wrote, "I want to put my arms around you, I ache to hold you close."

This "Rainbow Minute" was read by Dustin Richardson.

Dr. Evelyn Hooker's Discovery

The Rainbow Minute, read by Dustin Richardson

Dr. Evelyn Hooker's Discovery

Psychologist Dr. Evelyn Hooker conducted research in the 1950s, challenging the notion that homosexuality signaled mental illness.

Having earned her doctorate from Johns Hopkins in 1932, she became a psychology researcher at UCLA. She decided to study gay men at the urging of a gay friend, Sam Fromm. He said, "it is your scientific duty to study people like us, homosexuals who function very well and don't go to psychiatrists."

In her study, she administered highly-regarded personality tests to heterosexual and gay men. Her research found that the two groups were psychologically indistinguishable.

At first, her conclusions caused heated debate amongst scientists. But in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association officially removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders.

And while there was still much work to be done to destigmatize what it is to be gay, Evelyn Hooker had shattered one enormous myth.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Dustin Richardson.

The Rainbow Minute is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59 AM, 12:29 PM and 2:59 PM on WRIR – 97.3 FM in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.

The Rainbow Minute achieves 10-year milestone

Rainbow MinuteThis year, The Rainbow Minute marked its 10th anniversary. The show first aired at WRIR, 97.3 fm in 2005. Former Richmonders Brian Burns and Judd Proctor have produced just over 2,000 episodes with the support of more than 200 volunteer readers, researchers, writers and editors. Some are heard on other stations around the world.

Listen to The Hard Nut, by Mark Morris, read by Autumn Reinhardt Simpson here.

While Judd and Brian now live in Silver Spring, Maryland, most episodes are still recorded in Richmond. Judd says, "Today, about half of the ideas for episodes come from our listeners, volunteers, friends and neighbors. If you have any ideas just send us an email." Future episodes will be featured at