President Obama announced today that he will posthumously honor Jeanne Manford, cofounder of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, with the Citizens Medal.
In 1972, Manford and her husband, Jules, formed a support group for parents of gay children, an organization that grew into PFLAG, after their gay son, Morty, was brutally beaten during a gay rights protest in New York City and police failed to intervene. “In the years that followed, Manford continued to march and organize, even after losing Morty to AIDS in 1992,” notes a White House press release. Jeanne Manford died in January at age 92.
“Jeanne was one of the fiercest fighters in the battle for acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” PFLAG executive director Jody Huckaby said upon Manford’s death.
Manford is one of 18 people who will be honored with the Citizens Medal in a ceremony at the White House a week from today. President Obama selected them from among 6,000 names submitted by the public. Other honorees include activists for people with disabilities, veterans, Native Americans, and many other groups and causes, plus the six Sandy Hook Elementary School staff members who died in the mass shooting there December 14. Find the full list here.