Jeanne Manford with photo of son Morty 1993

Jeanne Manford loved her gay son so much that she founded Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). She died on Jan. 8, 2013 at age 92.

Her son, the late Morty Manford, was beaten during a gay rights protest in April 1972.  She responded by writing a letter to the New York Post stating, “I have a homosexual son, and I love him.” A couple months later she and her son marched in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade. These actions and the support she received led to the founding of PFLAG in 1973.

PFLAG has grown to 350 chapters with 200,000 members, and Jeanne Manford is an inspiration to many. President Obama talked about her in his 2009 speech to the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2009.

Thank you, Jeanne, for your courage and your love! You are counted among the LGBTQ saints for the huge positive impact that you had on queer people and straight allies everywhere.

Jeanne Manford sign at San Francisco Pride 2013. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski

Woman holds “In honor of Jeanne Manford” sign at San Francisco Pride 2013. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski (Wikimedia Commons)

Links related to allies, spouses and parents of LGBTQ people

Jeanne Manford, 92, Who Stood Up for Her Gay Son, Inspiring Others, Dies (New York Times)

PFLAG Founder Jeanne Manford Dies at 92 (Advocate)

Patron saints for straight allies of LGBTQ people: Adele Starr of PFLAG and others (Jesus in Love)

Tribute to Mrs. Edith Allen (Mom) Perry, mother of MCC founder Rev. Troy Perry and thousands of people in Metropolitan Community Churches (

Books related to allies, spouses and parents of LGBTQ people

Straight Parents, Gay Children: Keeping Families Together by Robert A. Bernstein

Always My Child: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Questioning Son or Daughter” by Kevin Jennings with Pat Shapiro

Beyond Acceptance: Parents of Lesbians and Gays Talk About Their Experiences” by Carolyn W. Griffin

The Other Side of the Closet: The Coming-Out Crisis for Straight Spouses and Families, Revised and Expanded Edition by Amity Pierce Buxton.
Top image credit: Jeanne Manford in 1993 with a photo of her son Morty

This post is part of the LGBTQ Saints series by Kittredge Cherry. Traditional and alternative saints, people in the Bible, LGBTQ martyrs, authors, theologians, religious leaders, artists, deities and other figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and our allies are covered.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved. presents the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBTQ spirituality.

Kittredge Cherry

Kittredge Cherry

Founder at Q Spirit
Kittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author who writes regularly about LGBTQ spirituality.She holds degrees in religion, journalism and art history.She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer, advocating for LGBTQ rights at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches.
Kittredge Cherry