Jeanne Manford, the founder of Parents and Friends and Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), died 8 January 2013. She showed a lot of us the way. It’s a sorry time, because she was such a pioneer. As PFLAG says, “It is with great sorrow that we share with all of you the passing of PFLAG’s founder, Jeanne Manford.”
But it is with great respect, awe, and joy that we remember her courage and strength. She did enormous good. She stood up for people—our daughters and sons, our teachers, friends, and acquaintances—well before it was popular on TV sitcoms and other common media. And she started to do so even when queer wasn’t part of the hyped media, when gay and lesbian folks were just us and lots of us didn’t know it, even when it was risky to let others know that we knew someone who was “like that.”
So, Ms. Manford, thanks very much. Even though I don’t believe in such rewards, if there was an afterlife with a God who greeted good people, I’m sure that you would get a pass through all the preliminary saints’ gates and such and that God, well, She would welcome you with open arms and all Her angels would embrace you and kiss you for your good works.
Peace on you and all the people whom you have represented. Thanks to you, Ms. Manford, things are a lot better today. They may not be right yet. But you showed us the way to making them better.