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.
Links related to allies, spouses and parents of LGBTQ people
PFLAG Founder Jeanne Manford Dies at 92 (Advocate)
Tribute to Mrs. Edith Allen (Mom) Perry, mother of MCC founder Rev. Troy Perry and thousands of people in Metropolitan Community Churches (revtroyperry.org)
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.
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