Jeanne Manford, PFLAG founder, dies at age 92

Jeanne Manford, who founded PFLAG in 1973, has died at the age of 92.

The idea for PFLAG started in 1972, when Manford marched in New York's Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today's Pride parade, with her son, Morty, who is gay. By 1980, the group was distributing educational literature to educational and faith organizations nationwide. During the 1980s, PFLAG expanded, becoming an incorporated nonprofit, and started organizing chapters throughout the United States, notably in rural communities, where there was often little other support for LGBT people and their families. In the 1990s, PFLAG chapters in Massachusetts were integral in passing the first safe schools legislation in the United States.

Fr. James Martin, chaplain to the Colbert Report, tweeted about Manford’s death, with a link to a longer meditation on the impact she had by stating, simply, "I have a homosexual son and I love him," in a letter to the New York Post in 1972. In a statement, PFLAG officials said "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."

Jeanne Manford’s unconditional love for her son led her to found one of the most important LGBT advocacy organizations in the United States. Her legacy will live on through the work of LGBT people and their allies.