PFLAG founder, Jeanne Manford, Passes at Age 92

Jeanne Manford holding photo of Morty Manford circa 1993 003

The woman who founded one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ straight-ally organizations has died.  According to  Huffington Post, Jeanne Manford died at her Daly City, Calif. home, on Wednesday, after suffering from declining health in recent weeks.

Manford started PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in 1972 after her gay son, Marty, was brutally attacked during a gay rights demonstration in New York.

“Jeanne was one of the fiercest fighters in the battle for acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. 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 cellphones. Just a deep love for her son and a sign reading “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for Our Children,” PFLAG National Executive Director, Jody Huckaby, said in a statement.  “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.”

The organization has played a crucial role in the last 40 years of the LGBT movement, including right here in Idaho. In the late 1980’s and early 90’s, several PFLAG chapters were active in communities around the state, most organized  in response to a push for a proposed law that would have made it illegal to prohibit local and state governments from including gays and lesbians in anti-discrimination laws.

According to PFLAG’s website, there are two active chapters  currently operating in the Gem State.

“A private interment service will be held and details of a later celebration of Manford’s life and legacy will be announced later. The family requests that any donations be made to the Jeanne Manford Legacy Fund to support the ongoing work of PFLAG National: 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 660, Washington, DC 20036,” Huckaby announced in her statement.

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