A 92-year-old mother of two has been attending the New York City Pride parade for over 40 years, returning each year with the exact same sign that reads “I Adore my Lesbian Daughters – Keep them safe.”
The woman is immediately recognizable to anyone on Gay Twitter or Tumblr. Images of her holding that sign have circulated for years on social platforms without any additional backstory, usually around the time Pride month starts ramping up.
1994 – 2016 pic.twitter.com/0zfDkEfIzm
— lesbiansjpg (@lesbiansjpg) August 25, 2016
A new profile published this week by Buzzfeed has identified the woman — Frances Goldin — and scooped a touching backstory that’ll make you want to attend Pride every year for the rest of your life in the same way.
“Since the beginning of the parade, I’ve been going and waving my sign,” Goldin, a lifelong Lower East Side resident told Buzzfeed. “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 daughters Sally and Reeni, now 70 and 68, said they came out to their parents shortly after New York City’s inaugural Pride parade in 1970, and that their mother has attended ever since without fail (minus one year, which she spent recovering from a heart attack).
Goldin explained how the sign first came about in 1970, and how it was altered only once in 1993, when she added the line “Keep them safe.”
“Everybody would come running up to her and cry, kiss her, and say, ‘Would you call my mother?’ or ‘Would you be my mother?’” Sally added, explaining how her mother made friends at the parades throughout the years, sometimes ’adopting’ other queer kids rejected by their parents, and sometimes even writing those parents letters.
“She’s met people who she is still very close to at the parades,” Sally said. “She’s a model for how parents should be behaving towards their kids.”
Reeni added: “[My mother] 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.”
You can hear more from all three women and check out more pictures of Goldin representing Pride at Buzzfeed.