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The History Behind PFLAG

In 1972, Morty Manford was physically attacked at a gay rights protest demonstration in New York. Morty's parents, Jeanne and Jules Manford, saw the attack on a local newscast and witnessed the police's failure to intervene. Their outrage turned them into activists.

Jeanne Manford marched with her gay son in New York's Pride Day parade in 1972.  Because so many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. This first support group grew and branched out into other communities, forming a network of groups.  

These groups had their first national meeting in Washington, D.C. in 1981.  As a result of this meeting, the first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding president Adele Starr.


PFLAG Time Line

Milestones in a historic national mission

1972 Morty Manford is attacked at a gay rights protest in New York while police look on. Jeanne Manford marches with her son in New York’s Pride Day parade - perhaps the first time a parent is seen to publicly support her gay child.

1973 The newly formed New York City Parents and Friends of Gays holds its first meeting in a Greenwich Village church. Approximately 20 people attend.

1976 Larry and Adele Starr launch the Los Angeles chapter - and apply for non-profit status. More than 35 people go to the Starrs’ home for the first meeting.

1978 Harlen and Lois Adams start a group in Chico, California, one of the first in a rural area.

1979 Parents from across the country gather in Washington D.C. for the first National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, and hold a press conference in support of their gay children.

1981 More than 30 people meet in Los Angeles to write the bylaws for a national organization. These - by now - 20 groups call themselves the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.

1988 With nearly 200 local chapters, Parents FLAG relocates to Washington D.C.

1990 Then-president, Paulette Goodman, writes to First Lady Barbara Bush asking for her support. "I firmly believe we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country," Mrs. Bush responds.

1993 To accommodate its growing national profile and ensure its support at the local level, the organization restructures and changes its name to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG.

1998 Having added bisexuals to its mission in 1993, PFLAG officially includes transgendered people and their loved ones in its program of support, education and advocacy.



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