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Frances Goldin: I Adore My Lesbian Daughters


September 2016


“I always tell other parents that you’ll never find more giving children than gays and lesbians. And that I have the most devoted, loving, helpful, useful children in the world because I support my kids and they support me. So, please, cherish your lesbian and gay children.”

-Frances Goldin


She’s been a staple of the New York City Pride Parade for more than 30 years. Literary agent Frances Goldin, 92 years old, is the subject of a moving profile by BuzzFeed, in which the proud mother of two lesbian daughters shared her story of activism.

“Since the beginning of the parade, I’ve been going and waving my sign,” Goldin explains. “It sort of hit a nerve with people, particularly those whose parents rejected them. The response to the sign is always so great — it urges me to keep going.”


Goldin's daughter Reeni says that her mother simply “believes in equality and fairness and what’s right. She really puts her money where her mouth is. She works for it. That’s her life. That’s just who she is.”

The sign itself was painted by a city planner, a dear friend of Goldin’s, because she believed you just couldn’t be at the parade without a sign. The message, “I adore my lesbian daughters,” instantly caught the attention of other parade attendees.

Frances Goldin has been attending the NYC Pride Parade for over 30 years with the same sign. Her daughters, Reeni and Sally Goldin currently reside in New Paltz, New York, and San Francisco, California.  Both Sally, 70, and Reeni, 68, grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City with their parents and came out as lesbians soon after New York City’s first Pride Parade in 1970. The event is held annually on the last Saturday in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots.


Goldin is a powerhouse of a woman who, ever since both of her daughters came out in the early 1970s, has been an outspoken and compassionate advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community ― among other social and political causes.

Goldin’s daughter Reeni describes her mother as a 1950s radical whose commitment to social justice has led to her being arrested almost a dozen times. She’s worked tirelessly throughout her lifetime fighting for the rights of marginalized groups.


Neither of Goldin’s daughters can remember exactly when their mother first started attending the NYC Pride Parade — though Goldin insisted to BuzzFeed News that she’s been attending “since the beginning.”  Not only does Goldin attend the parade just about every year (she did skip at least one year due to a heart attack), she sits in the exact same spot too — the northeast corner of 18th and 5th avenue.


(From LGBT Nation, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed)



LGBTQ Nation: Proud Mom of Lesbian Daughters Carries Same Sign in Every NYC Pride Parade

BuzzFeed: 92 Year Old Woman Holds Same Sign for 30 Years

Huffington Post: Mother of the Century


Courageous LGBT Allies

LGBT Allies are Straight...  But Not Narrow.

An LGBT ally is a heterosexual (straight person) who believes in and advocates for homosexual (LGBT) rights. In relation to issues of oppression, an ally is defined as a person who is a member of the "dominant" or "majority" group who works to end oppression in his or her personal and professional life through support of, and as an advocate with and for, the oppressed population.  A LGBT ally is a person, often straight, who is accepting and supportive of the LGBT community.

You have the opportunity to be an ally and a friend at home, school, church and work. A straight ally can merely be someone who is supportive and accepts the LGBT person, or a straight ally can be someone who personally advocates for equal rights and fair treatment.

Allies are some of the most effective and powerful voices of the LGBT movement. Not only do allies help people in the coming-out process, they also help others understand the importance of equality, fairness, tolerance and mutual respect. They raise awareness and build bridges by actively, publicly, and courageously practicing acceptance of and support for LGBT people and speaking out in their behalf.




Wikipedia: What is a Straight Ally?

Huff Post: HRC's Ally Annual Awards
HRC: Ally for Equality Awards
Safe Schools Coalition: Ally Resources
Allies At Work: Book by David Hall
PFLAG Guide to Being a Straight Ally

Straight But Not Narrow

Jeanne Manford Tribute on Rachel Maddow Show

Being an Ally: Sometimes it Means Just Shutting Up


Zach Wahls: LGBT Ally


December 2012


The Iowa student whose impassioned pro-gay marriage speech to Iowa legislators became the most-watched political clip of 2011 on YouTube after going viral twice last year will soon take his message to the national level. Zach Wahls will serve as co-chair for "The Outspoken Generation," the Family Equality Council's national youth advocacy initiative involving the young adult children of LGBT parents. Joining him will be Ella Robinson, the daughter of Bishop Gene Robinson who is the first openly gay person to be ordained a bishop in a major Christian denomination.

"A family is a group of people who love each other," Wahls -- whose new book, "My Two Moms," will be released later this month -- says in a video clip about the project. "If you're willing to put in the blood, sweat, toil and tears...if you're willing to make the commitment and demonstrate the love that it takes to successfully raise a young, healthy, well-rounded adult...who you are is so much less important than what you do."

"We are now seeing the first generation of children, who were lovingly raised by LGBT parents, coming into young adulthood," Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler said in an email statement. "We know, from our conversations with these young people and from our experience with them, that they are terrific kids who are thriving and succeeding in life by any measure you choose to use. Many of them are now telling us that they are eager to tell the truth about their families. Who better to refute the myths and lies of hate groups like [National Organization for Marriage] than our grown up children?"




Zach Wahls to Co-Chair Outspoken Generation Project

Zach Wal's Speech to Iowa House of Rep


Being An LGBT Ally or Advocate

Actively participating. 
This stage of response includes actions that directly support lesbian/gay and gender presentation oppression.  These actions include laughing at or telling jokes that put down LGBT people, making fun of people who don’t fit the traditional stereotypes of what is masculine or feminine, discouraging others and avoiding personal behavior that is not sex-stereotyped, and engaging in verbal or physical harassment of lesbians, gays, or heterosexuals who do not conform to traditional sex-role behavior.  It also includes working for anti-gay legislation. 


Denying or ignoring.  This stage of response includes inaction that supports lesbian, gay, or bisexual, or gender presentation oppression coupled with an unwillingness or inability to understand the effects of homophobic and heterosexist actions.  This stage is characterized by a “business as usual” attitude.  Though responses in this stage are not actively and directly homophobic or heterosexist, the passive acceptance of these actions by others serves to support the system of oppression.


Recognizing, but no action.  This stage of response is characterized by a recognition of homophobic or heterosexist actions and the harmful effects of these actions.  However, this recognition does not result in the action to interrupt the homophobic or heterosexist situation.  Taking action is prevented by homophobia or a lack of knowledge about specific actions to take.  This stage of response is accompanied by discomfort due to the lack of congruence between recognizing homophobia or heterosexism yet failing to act on this recognition.  An example of this stage of response is a person hearing a friend tell a “queer joke”, recognizing that is homophobic, not laughing at the joke, but saying nothing to the friend about the joke. 


Recognizing and interrupting.  This stage of response includes not only recognizing homophobic and heterosexist actions, but also taking action to stop them.  Though the response goes no further than stopping, this stage is often an important transition from passively accepting homophobic or heterosexist actions to actively choosing antihomophobic and anti-heterosexist actions.  In this stage a person hearing a “queer joke” would not laugh and would tell the joke teller that jokes that put down any minority, including gays, are not funny.  Another example would be a person who realized that s/he is avoiding an activity because others might think s/he is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender if s/he participates in it, and then decides to participate.


Educating self.  This stage of response includes taking action to learn more about LGBT people, heterosexism and homophobia.  These actions can include reading books attending workshops, talking to others, joining organizations, and listening to lesbian or gay music, or any other actions that can increase awareness and knowledge.  This stage is also a prerequisite for the last three stages.  All three involve interactions with others about homophobia and heterosexism.  In order to do this confidently and comfortably, people need to first learn more.


Questioning and Dialoguing.  This stage of response is an attempt to begin educating others about homophobia and heterosexism.  These stages go beyond interrupting homophobic and heterosexist interactions to engage people in dialogue about these issues.  Through the use of questions, and dialogue, this response attempts to help others increase their awareness of and knowledge about homophobia and heterosexism.


Supporting and Encouraging.  This stage of response includes actions that support and encourage the anti-homophobic and anti-heterosexist actions of others.  Overcoming the homophobia that keeps people from interrupting this form of oppression even when they are offended by it is difficult.  Supporting and encouraging others who are able to take this risk is an important part of reinforcing anti-homophobic and anti-heterosexist behavior.


Initiating and Preventing.  This stage of response includes actions that actively anticipate and identify homophobic institutionalized practices or individual actions and work to change them. Examples include teachers changing a “Family Life” curriculum that is homophobic or heterosexist, or counselors’ inviting a speaker to come and discuss how homophobia can affect counselor-client interactions.

(From Safe Zone Resource Guide, Florida State University / Model originally developed by James Washington, 1991)

Remembering the Early Pioneers

PFLAG Began in 1972


Photo Left: PFLAG Moms, Mrs. Elizabeth Montgomery and Mrs. Jean Manford, show their support during the 1974 Pride Day Parade in New York City.  Photo Right: PFLAG Dad, Dick Ashworth, a founding member of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG,) marching on June 3, 1974.




 In 1972, Morton Manford was physically attacked at a gay rights demonstration in New York. Morty’s parents, Jeanne and Jules Manford, saw the attack on a local newscast and witnessed the failure of the police to intervene. Their outrage turned them into activists. The concept of PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her gay son in New York’s Pride Day parade. After many gay men and lesbians ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, Jeanne decided to begin a support group. Approximately 20 people attended the first formal meeting held in March 1973 at a local church.


In the next years, through word of mouth and in response to community need, similar groups sprung up around the country, offering “safe havens” and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these support groups met for the first time in Washington, DC. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG office was established in Los Angeles under founding President Adele Starr.  In 1982, the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), then comprising some 20 groups, changed from a federation to a membership-based organization and was incorporated in California and granted non-profit, tax-exempt status. In 1990, following a period of enormous growth, PFLAG hired an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and consolidated operations in Washington, DC. In 1993, the word “Families” was added to the name.




Jeanne Manford Featured on Rachel Maddow Show
Jeanne Manford: Gay Rights Activist
SF Gate: PFLAG Founder Dies

AARP: Jeanne Manford Raised the Flag for Intolerance


GLAAD Tips: Ways to Be an Ally or Friend


--Be a listener.

--Be open-minded.

--Be willing to talk.

--Be inclusive and invite LGBT friends to hang out with your friends and family.

--Don't assume that all your friends and co-workers are straight. Someone close to you could be looking for support in their coming-out process. Not making assumptions will give them the space they need.

--Homophobic comments and jokes are harmful. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you find them offensive.

--Confront your own prejudices and homophobia, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.

--Defend your LGBT friends against discrimination.

--Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.

--If you see LGBT people being misrepresented in the media, contact


(From GLAAD)


Supporting LGBT Rights

Here's how you can join the fight for gay equal rights:

1) Register To Vote  -  The best way to tell our government how you feel is to vote! Be sure to update your address if you are registered to vote or sign up if you are not.


2) Sign a Petition for Same-Sex Marriage   -  Your single signature may at first seem irrelevant, but among millions change happens.


3) Write Your State Senator or Representative  -  Your State Senators and Representatives were elected by you and act on your behalf. Let them know how you feel.


4) Contact the White House   -  If the current administration opposes equal gay rights, send letters of protest.  If the current administration endorses equal gay rights, send letters of support.  Continue to send letters supporting gay equality directly to our leaders. Let's keep the upper hand by expressing our opinions with respect and professionalism.


5) Support Gay Schools  -  Help the Hetrick-Martin Institute alleviate queer youth from the perils of harassment and violence by contacting the New York City Department of Education or by providing funding to The Harvey Milk School.



6) Write the Church  -  A simple email to gay-friendly churches can go a long way towards the confirmation of gay clergymen.


7) Support the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund   -  The SLDF needs your support as the leading advocate for gays in the military. Not only do they educate servicemembers on the current "don't ask, don't tell" policies, but they provide free legal advice.


8) Watch Gay Television Shows  -  Despite what your parents said, watching television is good for you- especially if you're gay! By watching gay-theme television shows you increase their ratings. Increased ratings make the high-power networks and advertisers very happy. Hopefully, happy enough that they can't afford not to have gay programming. Showing Americans gay life on television may also lessen the fear of gay equality.


9) Volunteer for a Gay Rights Organization  -  There are several organizations that help promote gay rights and safety. Find the one that best suits your lifestyle.


10) Lobby for Gay Adoption  -  The American Bar Association had recently agreed to endorse and lobby states for equal adoption rights for same-sex couples. Join the fight!


(From From Ramon Johnson, Your Guide to Gay Life)


Prominent LGBT Allies

The LGBT community has always been grateful for straight allies who support their human rights efforts. On any number of social issues, famous people can typically be found who use their fame or popularity to speak out in favor of worthwhile causes.



There are many LGBT allies among popular musical artists. The list includes such straight artists as Lady Gaga, Sarah McLachlin, Sting, Bette Midler, Madonna, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Bono, Cyndi Lauper, Christine Aguilera, Pink, Liza Minelli, and Cheryl Crowe.



Top 25 Greatest LGBT Allies in Popular Music
Wikipedia: Gay Icons
Huff Post: Straight Celebrities Who Support Gay Rights
Queer Attitude: Celebrity LGBT Ally List
Friend of Dorothy

Rapper Macklemore is LGBT Ally



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Association for Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama