PFLAG: Parents, families, friends of lesbians and gays – here to help


About forty years ago the idea of PFLAG (Parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays) was born. It all started when a parent marched with her son in the equivalent of what is now New York’s PRIDE parade. The mother’s name was Jeanne Manford.

During the march many people came up and spoke to Jeanne. They asked her to speak to their parents. One year later Jeanne held a meeting to help bring people together and share their experiences. Twenty people came along to this first meeting.

Following the meeting, the group began to grow. Now PFLAG is a national movement that brings together many parents, families and friends of lesbian, gay and trans people.

In the video below Rachel Maddow shares her admiration of PFLAG and the story of PFLAG.

What does PFLAG do?

PFLAG works to help cultivate a society that is respectful of human diversity. PFLAG aims to create healthy societies and to help the well-being of LGBT individuals and their families. They do this through providing emotional and practical support, and helping people cope with challenges. They educate, illuminate and advocate.

Where is PFLAG based?

PFLAG is now a national, not-for-profit organization. It has more than 200,000 members and it has hundreds of affiliates in the US. The national office of PFLAG is located in downtown Washington DC.

In addition to having a national office, there are many local groups. The local PFLAG groups are called chapters. These chapters help educate local communities to promote diversity and acceptance.

In the video below President Obama tells the story of how Jeanne started PFLAG with her husband Jules.

Presidential Citizen’s Medal

Recently, Jeanne Manford was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal (2012). This award was made in order to recognize her important and helpful contribution. The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second highest civilian award in the US. It honors US citizens who have made a substantial contribution for the good of their citizens. This was awarded posthumously as Jeanne had died by that time. Her daughter accepted the award on her behalf. The work of Jeanne Manford continues to impact positively on people’s lives even after her death.

In this video below Suzanne Manford, the daughter of Jeanne Manford, reflects on the importance of her mother being awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal.

Photo: arindambanerjee |

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