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Sat Aug 21, 2021, 02:02 PM

PFLAG Mourns Past National President Paulette Goodman

PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays)—the first and largest organization for LGBTQ people, their families, and allies—announced that Paulette Goodman, who served as the PFLAG national president from 1988 until 1992, has died.

Goodman was Jewish and grew up in Nazi-occupied Paris until she and her family moved to the U.S. in 1949. She got involved in PFLAG after her daughter came out to her in 1981, and she eventually helped found PFLAG Metro DC in 1983, where she served as its first president.

Goodman recalled her initial aims in getting involved with PFLAG in a 2019 interview with The Atlantic: “When I found out about my gay child, I realized it was the same situation. You’re guarded about who you are because you don’t know who’s going to be supportive … I didn’t want my child to go through what I went through; being in the closet is stifling.”

Following her success working with PFLAG Metro DC, she was voted as the new president of the national organization in 1988. As president, Goodman made national news with her letter to then First Lady Barbara Bush in the heights of the AIDS crisis. She asked Mrs. Bush to “… speak kind words to some 24 million gay Americans and their families, to help heal the wounds, and to keep these families in loving relationships,” to which Bush responded with a letter saying, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country. Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.”

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