Jeanne Manford, the late founder of PFLAG, will be honored posthumously with the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal at a White House ceremony on February 15. Jeanne founded PFLAG, an organization for parents, family, friends and straight allies of LGBT people, in 1973, a year after she joined her openly gay son, Morty, to march in what is now New York City's Pride Parade.
From its early days distributing educational literature to organizations around the country, PFLAG expanded to become a national non-profit organization with hundreds of affiliates. After witnessing decades of parents like herself growing to embrace their LGBT children, Jeanne passed away at age 92 in January.
The Presidential Citizens Medal recognizes Americans who have “performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." Fellow hero of the LGBT movement Janice Langbehn, who spoke at the 2011 GLAAD Media Awards, also received this prestigious honor for her work to ensure all Americans are treated equally when visiting loved ones in the hospital.
Jeanne's daughter, Suzanne Manford Swan, spoke about the Presidential Citizens Medal, saying, “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. My family is deeply touched by this honor and to represent the PFLAG family values of love and acceptance.”