- January 8, 2013
Post submitted by Dan Rafter, former HRC Associate Director of Communications
Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and a pioneering straight ally, has passed away at the age of 92.
Her activism began in 1972, when her gay son was beaten during an equality demonstration. She subsequently wrote to the New York Post, proclaiming: "I have a homosexual son and I love him." Jeanne’s open and unconditional love for her son resonated with parents and families throughout the region: the first PFLAG meeting was held a year later. Today, PFLAG has a strong presence across the globe and counts more than 200,000 people among its members and supporters.
Jeanne exemplified the power of love that we all strive to nurture not just within our families, but within all communities. PFLAG Executive Director Jody Huckaby said of Jeanne:
All of us - people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight allies alike - owe Jeanne our gratitude. We are all beneficiaries of her courage. Jeanne Manford proved the power of a single person to transform the world. She paved the way for us to speak out for what is right, uniting the unique parent, family, and ally voice with the voice of LGBT people everywhere.
Jeanne leaves behind a powerful legacy. Our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.