Adele Starr, the co-founder and first president of PFLAG, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 90.
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.Adele Starr: "We cannot understand those arrogant people who have decided that a heterosexual lifestyle must be imposed on everyone and that they have a monopoly on morality. The American way is respect for diversity with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."