40 Years of PFLAG: Thank You, Jeanne Manford! (Ms. Magazine)

More reflection on the history of PFLAG at its 40th anniversary:

At LGBT Pride parades around the country, the queer community always puts on a show. Rainbows, glitter, big hair, fabulous costumes, leather, dykes on bikes and partial nudity—pretty much anything goes, as participants let their freak flags fly.

But the most beloved contingent of Pride marchers is seldom flamboyant. In fact, they often stand out by looking so completely ordinary, like central casting’s view of middle America. Members of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), carry signs that say things like, “I Love My Lesbian Daughter” and “My Pride is My Gay Child.” When they march by, people along the parade route cheer, applaud and openly weep.

The idea for PFLAG emerged from a Pride parade in June 1972 when Jeanne Manford, a New York City grade school teacher, marched alongside her gay son, Morty, holding a sign with what was then a new message: “Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for our Children.” Manford was surprised by the welcome she received that day:

As we marched the parade route, so many people came up and hugged me and cried and talked about their own parents.

You can read the rest of the story here.


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