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WWII Vet, LGBTQ+ Activist Rupert 'Twink' Starr Turns 100 in Style

Rupert "Twink" Star, WWII veteran and LGBTQ+ activist

The decorated veteran and "don't ask, don't tell" activist described the centennial birthday celebration as "overwhelming" and fun.

World War II veteran and LGBTQ+ activist Rupert "Twink" Starr celebrated his 100th birthday last month. Starr celebrated the occasion in his home of Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by friends and members of the community.

"I think it is outstanding, 100th birthday with all these friends," Starr told local NBC affiliate WCMH, going on to describe the gathering as, "Such a good group of friends, I can't believe they've taken the time and the energy to come to wish me a happy birthday and sing happy birthday. It's overwhelming."

Starr has turned in his life into one of activism and giving back to his country and community. According to VA News, he joined the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) while a student at Ohio University and enlisted in the Army in January 1943. While surrounded by enemy forces during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, Starr was the only volunteer for a daring attempt across enemy lines to deliver a message to headquarters. His attempt was unsuccessful, and he served four months in a German prisoner of war camp before being liberated in 1945. Starr received a Bronze Star for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge.

Following an honorable discharge, Starr completed his studies at Ohio University and became a successful businessman and realtor. In 1954, Twink met and fell in love with interior designer Allan Wingfield. The two men shared the next 53 years together, according to Stonewall Columbus, before Wingfield passed away in 2007 at the age of 80.

Starr felt the call to service again in 2004 in response to the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy against LGBTQ+ people serving openly. A private person regarding his sexual identity, Starr nonetheless appeared in a promotional video for the 2004 documentary Courage Under Fire by Patrick Sammon. He spoke more extensively about the policy and his actions in the 2014 film below.

Starr made the news again in 2020 at the age of 97 when he was the victim of a violent daylight robbery by a panhandler. According to Sgt. James Fuqua of the Columbus Division of Police, a man stole Starr's wallet and pushed him to the ground after Starr had just given the panhandler a dollar.

"The man walks with two canes. He's doing the best he can physically just to even be out and mobile, so the fact that someone has that type of behavior and has that type of cruelty in their heart to still go out and assault someone after they give them something is truly reprehensible," Fuqua told WSYX, a local ABC affiliate, at the time.

On the occasion of his 100th birthday, Starr was all smiles, choosing to focus on celebrating the moment rather than reliving the past too much.

"I'm so sorry I enjoyed this so much," he gushed at his party. "I'd like to do this every year."

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