Jeanne Manford, who founded PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) after her son was beaten during a gay demonstration has passed away at the age of 92. Manford gave parents of gay children a place to come together, not feel so alone and to bravely accept their gay children in a time when the majority of society shunned homosexuality.
PFLAG’s executive director, Jody M. Huckaby, had this to say about Manford’s death.
“Jeanne was one of the fiercest fighters in the battle for acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” Huckaby said. “It is truly humbling to imagine in 1972 — just 40 years ago — a simple schoolteacher started this movement of family and ally support, without benefit of any of the technology that today makes a grassroots movement so easy to organize. No Internet. No cell phones. Just a deep love for her son and a sign reading ‘Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for Our Children.’”
One of Manford’s sons, the late Morty Manford, was gay. He was beaten during a Gay Activists Alliance demonstration in April 1972, and police failed to intervene. She wrote a letter to the New York Post, published April 29, 1972, in which she stated, “I have a homosexual son, and I love him.” Her letter sparked a groundswell of response, and less than two months later, she joined her son at the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade. Her participation and the affirmations she received from others eventually led to the beginning of PFLAG.
Rest in peace Mamma, you deserve it! I am sure i speak for all of us in the LGBT community and the parents you brought together, when i say, Thank you, thank you , thank you! We will never forget