PFLAG founder J. Manford to receive posthumous Presidential Citizens Medal

PFLAG Jeanne Manford holds a
picture of her son, LGBT activist
Morty Manford, circa 1993

The mother of the Straight Ally Movement inspired parents, families, friends and straight allies of LGBT people everywhere.

February 9, 2013 /LGBT News/ PFLAG National yesterday honored its founder, Jeanne Manford, who will be posthumously awarded the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal by President Obama at a White House ceremony on Friday, February 15th. Mrs. Manford passed away on January 8th of this year, at the age of 92.

“When Jeanne Manford publicly stood up for her gay son in 1972, she had no idea that her actions would spark a movement that would change the lives of so many individuals and families,” said PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby. “It started out as a simple act of love, but Jeanne’s legacy lives on, as straight allies continue to stand alongside their LGBT loved ones, united by their collective belief in a better—and more equal—tomorrow. Her voice has been joined by millions of others who have raised their voices and will continue to do so in support of acceptance, fairness, and equality.”

“I was able to share the news of this honor with my mom before she left us and I only wish the President could have seen the amazing smile that spread across her face,” said Suzanne Manford Swan, daughter of the late Jeanne Manford. “My family is deeply touched by this honor and to represent the PFLAG family values of love and acceptance.”

The Presidential Citizens Medal recognizes Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” It is the second-highest civilian award in the U.S., second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Past honorees include well-known names like Muhammad Ali and Hank Aaron, and other heroes of the LGBT movement like Janice Langbehn for her efforts for all Americans to be treated equally when it comes to visiting their loved ones in the hospital. The medal will be presented at a ceremony at the White House on February 15, and accepted on her behalf by her daughter.

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 and acceptance through its mission of support, education and advocacy. Now in 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

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