PFLAG National Statement on the Passing of Founder Jeanne Manford

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Jeanne Manford, founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and mother of modern-day straight ally movement dies at 92.

"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."

Today, PFLAG National—the nation's original family and ally organization, and the largest grassroots-based non-profit for families, friends, and allies of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people—issued a statement from Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby:

Today the world has lost a pioneer: Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the Mother of the Straight Ally movement.

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.”

This simple and powerful message of love and acceptance from one person resonated so strongly it was heard by millions of people worldwide and led to the founding of PFLAG, an organization with more than 350 chapters across the U.S. and 200,000 members and supporters, and the creation of similar organizations across the globe.

Jeanne’s work was called “the story of America…of ordinary citizens organizing, agitating, educating for change, of hope stronger than hate, of love more powerful than any insult or injury,” in a speech by President Barack Obama in 2009.

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.

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A private interment service will be held and details of a later celebration of Jeanne Manford’s life and legacy will be announced. 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.

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Founded in 1972 with the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son, PFLAG is the original family and straight ally organization. Made up of parents, families, friends, and straight allies uniting with LGBT people, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now entering its 40th year, PFLAG has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities and rural areas in all 50 states. To learn more, please visit http://www.pflag.org.

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Liz Owen
PFLAG National
202-467-8180 214
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