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PFLAG Founding President Dies at 90

PFLAG Founding President Dies at 90


Adele Starr, who overcame her own negative perceptions on homosexuality to later become an early leader of what eventually became Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, died Friday in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 90.

Starr established a support group for parents of gay and lesbian children in 1976 after her son came out to her. The group sprouted up during a time when being gay was widely believed to be a mental illness, possibly caused by poor parenting.

In 1974 her son Philip Starr told his parents he was gay, according to the Los Angeles Times. She was so upset that her son directed her toward a support group.

According to the organization, Starr met PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford and her husband Jules in 1974, and within a year hosted Los Angeles's first chapter meeting with 35 parents in attendance in her home. Eventually she hosted gatherings of other chapter leaders, which led to the creation of a national group. Starr was then elected as the first president of the national PFLAG organization.

"Adele Starr was one of the pioneers of PFLAG. It is because of her commitment to organizing the many people who were working for the common goal of equality for all into the organization that we now know as PFLAG that we have gained the strength, prominence, and ability to become the voice of parents and allies united for equality," Jody M. Huckaby, PFLAG National's executive director, said in a statement Friday.

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