There's nothing like a mother's love, and Frances Goldin spent nearly five decades of her life proving that at NYC Pride. But the beloved figure was missing from the celebrations this year, and it wasn't just because the event went virtual due to the pandemic. Goldin—who not only proudly supported her own lesbian daughters, but also became a surrogate mom of sorts to LGBTQ+ people lacking family support of their own—passed away this year at age 95. Her loving legacy lives on, though.
Goldin's two daughters came out back in the early 1970s, according to TODAY, inspiring Goldin's first visit to Pride with a sign that would become her signature. "I Adore My Lesbian Daughters," it said, "Keep Them Safe."
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The proud mom was interviewed by the Washington Post at Pride in 1997 when she was 73 years old. She told the paper that marchers who saw her sign had approached her with their phone numbers, asking her to "adopt" them. She agreed to call them and keep in touch. That kind of acceptance isn't always accessible to members of the LGBTQ+ community, even among their own families—and can have devastating effects on their mental health. Goldin told Buzzfeed in 2016 that the responses to her sign were part of what motivated her to keep showing up, year after year. Her daughter Reeni told the website that Goldin would even write letters to the parents of people she met at the parade, encouraging them to embrace their children. "She's met people who she is still very close to at the parades. She's a model for how parents should be behaving towards their kids." Though it may not be possible to hit the streets with a sweet sign this particular year, following Goldin's example is still pretty simple. Be accepting, be loving and be proud of your LGBTQ kids, family and friends.