This weekend in the news I heard of the death of a 92-year-old woman named Jeanne Manford. Her death made the national news because she was being remembered for her public advocacy in the early 1970’s for her son who was gay. After he experienced extreme brutality which resulted in hospitalization, this ordinary mom rose to proudly march alongside her son in a parade, holding a sign that declared her love for him and asked other parents to unite in support of their children who were gay.
Her stand at that early time in history was an inspiration and a lifeline to so many other parents, and resulted in a grassroots organization where parents and grandparents of children who were gay could share their support, questions, love and pride in their children. That seed has grown to be a national non-profit organizaion, Pflag, with 350,000 members.
It is the finest gift we can give to our children – the acceptance and validation of their being – and that our love and pride in them is never questioned.
We have come a long way since Jeanne Manford marched with her son in support of his right to be gay, but there are still many other different issues our children face, discriminations to be addressed and hands to be joined.
As parents – ordinary moms and dads – let’s look, listen, observe, pay attention to what makes all of our children tick. Let them feel the circle of our love surround them and let’s be the advocates they need to develop- giving them the strength and courage to be whole.