Former PFLAG President Adele Starr Dies

Filed under: In The News

adele starr

Adele Starr was a vocal advocate for civil rights. Credit: Brian van der Brug, Los Angeles Times / MCT

The gay rights movement just lost one tough mama.

Gay rights activist Adele Starr, who founded the Los Angeles chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, has died at age 90.

Starr was initially disappointed when she found out in 1974 that her son Philip was gay, the Los Angeles Times reports. At the time, "being gay was still seen as a mental illness," Philip Starr tells the Times. "And parenting was often blamed as the cause," he says. "So parents really felt bad -- they felt like they were bad parents."

He encouraged his mother to form a support group, which eventually evolved into the organization that is now known as Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG. Starr became PFLAG's first national president in 1981, and she continued to serve as an outspoken advocate for civil rights and the legalization of same-sex marriage throughout her life.

PFLAG, which has added transgendered people, is now a Washington-based nonprofit group with 200,000 members and supporters and 500 affiliates worldwide, the Times reports.

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