PFLAG Founding President Dies at 90

From the Los Angeles Times

Adele Starr, a Brentwood mother of five who overcame dismay at her son’s homosexuality to become a leading voice for gay rights and marriage equality, has died. She was 90. Starr died in her sleep Friday at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, where she had been convalescing after surgery, said her son Philip Starr.

In 1976, Starr founded the Los Angeles chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, a gay rights and acceptance organization known then as Parent FLAG, now as PFLAG. In 1979, she spoke on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a march for gay rights — a seminal event often credited with uniting a then-nascent movement. Two years later, she became PFLAG’s first national president; she served in that capacity until 1986 and remained a forceful advocate for civil rights and, in later years, for the legalization of same-sex marriage. Starr served at the helm of PFLAG during the onset of the AIDS crisis, said her longtime friend and collaborator Terry DeCrescenzo, founder of another advocacy group formed to reach out to gay and lesbian youth. “In that time, a lot of us lost hope,” said DeCrescenzo, 66, of Studio City. “Not Adele. And PFLAG became enormously important because it was rock solid…. She was a good woman. She’ll be missed.”

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