Dan Savage calls Jeanne Manford critical to the gay rights movement

Tue. January 15, 2013 8:31 AM by OnTopMag.com

Author-activists Dan Savage has described PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford as critical to the gay rights movement.

Manford passed away last Tuesday in her Daly City, California home at the age of 92.

In 1972, Manford, a school teacher, founded Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PLAG) as a response to the brutal beating of her gay son, Morty, at a protest rally.

She complained about police inaction in a letter to the New York Post.

"I have a homosexual son and I love him," she wrote.

The reaction to her speaking out led to the creation of PFLAG.

Former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, whose son is gay, joined the group.

"She thought it was just a normal thing to do as a mother," he told NPR, "and that's true of most all the parents that get involved."

Savage said the group helped his mother understand what it means to be the parent of a gay child.

"What Jeanne Manford did was she put it in people's heads that gay and lesbian people had parents, that we were somebody's children, and that was the first real big step in the movement toward full acceptance of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people," Savage said.

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