In 1972, mother Jeanne Manford marched with her son Morty in New York's Christopher Street Liberation Day March (the precursor of today's Gay Pride parade) carrying a sign:
After 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. The first formal meeting took place on March 26, 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village. Approximately 20 people attended. A plaque at the church, now called the Church of the Village, marks the spot:
In the next years, through word of mouth and community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering "safe havens" and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc., then representing some 20 groups, was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status.
The 80's: PFLAG Hartford's Beginnings
Helen and Bob Brill Co-founded PFLAG Hartford in 1981, and served as the first Co- Presidents until 1989. Long time civil rights activists for various human rights issues, they were active Quakers and held the first PFLAG Hartford meetings at the Quaker Meeting House in West Hartford, CT. The Helen and Bob Brill Scholarships are awarded annually by PFLAG Hartford and True Colors to deserving LGBT and ally students in honor of the Brill's enormous contributions to PFLAG.
The 90's: Years of Growth
Bob Calvin served as President from 1989 to 1999 and, with his wife Marie, worked to grow the chapter and increase inclusion. Parents of three children, their daughter Kate inspired their activism in gay rights issues, and Bob and Marie developed and led an outstanding Board of Directors. They attended national and local conferences, Bob edited the chapter newsletter called Caring and they set the tone for support group meetings as membership grew.
A New Century: Activism and Victories
John and Becky Glezen served as PFLAG Hartford Co-Presidents from 1999 to 2013. Parents of three children, they were initially inspired by their daughter Sharon. They worked tirelessly in multiple areas of LGBT civil rights reform. They spoke out to faith communities to support "open and affirming" congregations, and lobbied lawmakers on issues of gay-parent adoptions, civil unions, military policy, gender non-discrimination reform, full transgender rights recognition, and same-sex marriage equality. PFLAG Hartford continued to thrive under the leadership of the Glezens and a long-serving treasurer, Joan Jansen, and newsletter editor Jean Cormier.
2014 - Today: Expanded Inclusiveness
In 2014, the national organization officially changed its name from "Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays" to simply: PFLAG. The mission and vision of the organization were also updated to reflect PFLAG's decades of inclusive work with parents and families of trans and gender non-conforming people, as well as with LGBTQ folks themselves. PFLAG National has grown to over 250,000 members and supporters, with over 400 chapters in 49 states.
In 2014 Donna Shubrooks served as PFLAG Hartford co-President, with our current president, and brought to the chapter a special interest in transgender rights issues and health issues, having been involved in HIV care and LGBT civil rights activism for over 25 years.
Today, PFLAG Hartford is a robust chapter of close to 100 members as we continue the mission of support, education, and advocacy in Connecticut. Our current President, Lori Davison, oversees a talented and diverse board that includes newly created chair positions in charge of: speakers, membership, diversity, tech support, funding, and tabling resources.