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01:51 | 24th June 2017

News: World

Mon 13 Dec, 2010
By Darren Waite


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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PFLAG Founder Adele Starr passes away at 90.

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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."

She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 10, 1920, as Ida Seltzer, the daughter of an accountant and a homemaker. She never fancied her first name and changed it to Adele as a teenager.

In 1941 she married Lawrence Starr, an accountant. She remained mostly in the New York area through the end of World War II, in which her husband served as an Army translator and her brother, an Air Force bombardier, was killed in action.

In 1951, the Starrs visited a relative in the Los Angeles area and took to the region immediately, drawn largely by the weather. They soon settled in Brentwood, where Adele Starr helped her husband establish a private accounting practice.

She was primarily a stay-at-home mother. The Starrs had four sons and a daughter.

In 1974, Philip Starr, the couple's second son, sat his parents down and told them he was gay. Although the gay rights movement was well underway by then, he recalled, "being gay was still seen as a mental illness."

"And parenting was often blamed as the cause," Philip Starr said. "So parents really felt bad — they felt like they were bad parents."

His mother was upset, so Philip Starr directed her to a support group of sorts that eventually evolved into PFLAG.

Source: LA TIMES

 

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