Gay rights activist, PFLAG’s first national president Adele Starr dies at 90

Adele Starr

Adele Starr Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

Adele Starr

Adele Starr, a Brentwood, Calif., mother of five who overcame dismay at her son’s homosexuality to become a leading voice for gay rights and marriage equality, and eventually the first national president of PFLAG, died Friday. She was 90.

Via the Los Angeles Times:

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.

At the time when Starr’s son Phillip came out in 1974, homosexuality was still generally viewed as a mental illness, or the result of bad parenting.

Phillip said he encouraged his mother to form a support group, which eventually evolved into the organization now known as PFLAG.

This Story Filed Under