14 February 2013

Late PFLAG founder to receive Presidential Citizens Medal

On Friday, February 15, the Presidential Citizens Medal will be posthumously awarded to Jeanne Manford, founder of an organization that eventually grew to become Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Manford died last month at the age of 92.

In a message to supporters, PFLAG described the award as follows:

"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 United States, 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. This is an extraordinary honor, but it all started with a simple act of love. 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. Jeanne's legacy lives on, as straight allies continue to stand alongside their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) loved ones, united by their collective belief in a better and more equal tomorrow."

And how fitting that the ceremony will be held on the day after Valentine's, when so much love is in the air!

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