PFLAG began in New York City in 1972, when Jeanne Manford marched alongside her son Morty in what would eventually become the Pride Parade. Jeanne held a sign that read "Parents of Gays: Unite in Support for our Children." Several LGBT people rushed up to Jeanne and asked her to speak to their parents, so she decided to form a support group. The first meeting, at a church in Greenwich Village, attracted 20 people. Today PFLAG is a network of hundreds of chapters around the world.
In 2014 the U.S. headquarters officially changed its name from Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to simply, PFLAG. This recognizes that people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions are welcome in the PFLAG family while honouring the organization's heritage.