Jeanne Manford, the mom who started the movement that became Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) died Jan. 8, 2013, in her Daly City, Calif., home.
Born Jeanne Sobelson in Queens, N.Y., she married Jules Manford, and the couple had two sons and a daughter: Charles, Morty and Suzanne. Manford had marched alongside her gay son, Morty, in New York’s 1972 Pride Parade. She became an activist in her 50s, impelled to action when police did nothing after Morty had been beaten and thrown down an escalator after a gay rights protest. Manford, an elementary school teacher, was soon in the spotlight, appearing on several television shows, including Phil Donahue’s.
Other parents allied with Manford’s beliefs began meeting, and the organization grew to become Parents of Gays (POG). After a national gay rights march in 1979, groups with similar ideas of support met in Washington, D.C. In 1981, the first PFLAG office opened in Los Angeles under founding president Adele Starr. Adding Friends, then later Families to its name, PFLAG headquarters moved to Denver, then to Washington, D.C. The organization expanded support to include bisexual and transgender persons and their loved ones. PFLAG, operating as a non-profit 501(c)3, now has over 200,000 members and supporters and more than 350 U.S. affiliates.
The Kansas City chapter of PFLAG (pflagkc.org; facebook.com/PFLAGKC) meets at 3 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Rd., Prairie Village, Kan., in Room 307 in the education wing, east of the sanctuary. An accessible entrance is located off the south parking lot.