Huffey, Jean, 1932-
- Existence: 1932-
Jean Boess Huffey, a school teacher, farm wife, and gay rights activist, was born to Delia and George Boess in rural Hawkeye, Iowa, in 1932. Jean Boess was raised on a farm and attended country schools. She received a teaching certificate from the Iowa State Teacher's College (now the University of Northern Iowa). In 1953, she married George Huffey, and, over the next ten years, the couple had six children. The Huffey family lived on a Century Farm in northeast Iowa near Waterville, Iowa. Jean Huffey was active in many organizations, including her Lutheran church, Old East Paint Church. After Huffey learned that one of her children was gay in the mid-1980s, she began to educate herself about homosexuality. The Huffeys became active in both Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Lutherans Concerned, a group that advocates civil and social justice within the church. A major focus of Huffey's work has been to end discrimination against gays and lesbians within the Lutheran (and other Protestant) churches. In March 1996, Jean Huffey founded a chapter of PFLAG in Waukon, Iowa. Later, she joined Soulforce, an interfaith group working to end discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgendered individuals within religious organizations. In 2001, Huffey attended the Lutheran Churchwide Assembly in Indianapolis where she and other Soulforce members engaged in direct action protests against the Lutheran church's policy requiring gay clergy to take a vow of celibacy.