Jeanne Manford, 1920-2013
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Lambda Legal honors the life and legacy of Jeanne Manford, the founder of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and pioneer of the straight ally movement, who died yesterday at age 92.
Manford became an activist and founded PFLAG, after her son Morty was beaten at a Gay Activists Alliance demonstration, and police failed to intervene. She wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Post, declaring, "I have a homosexual son and I love him." The year was 1972.
In 2009, President Obama described Manford’s work:
That's the story of America: of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating and advocating for change; of hope stronger than hate; of love more powerful than any insult or injury; of Americans fighting to build for themselves and their families a nation in which no one is a second-class citizen, in which no one is denied their basic rights, in which all of us are free to live and love as we see fit.
Our thoughts are with PFLAG and Manford’s loved ones.