Adele Starr, the first national president of the organization now called Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), died in her sleep Friday in Santa Monica, California. Starr’s involvement with the LGBT community began in 1974 when her son Philip came out to his parents. Scott Gold writes:
Two years later, Adele Starr launched the Los Angeles chapter of PFLAG, modeled loosely after an existing group in New York. The group met first at her home but expanded quickly and soon began meeting at a Methodist church in Westwood, where families still meet today. Over the years, hundreds of families came and went.
“Initially the impulse was that the group was really important to her because she wanted parents not to suffer like she had — not to be isolated, to have a place to go,” said Philip Starr, who has been with his now-husband, Michael Simengal, since 1974. The couple has a 19-year-old son.
In the early days, the meetings were “almost like an AA format,” Philip Starr said. Some members even declined to reveal their true names. “As she got more involved, she realized how oppressive the environment was. She really became an activist,” Philip Starr said.
Read the full obituary by Scott Gold on the Los Angeles Times website: Adele Starr dies at 90; unflagging gay-rights activist.