Founding president of gay group PFLAG dies

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The founding president of US group Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has died at the age of 90.

Adele Starr, of California, reacted badly when her son Phillip came out in 1974 but overcame her negative feelings to establish the support group for the loved ones of gays and lesbians.

After he came out, her son suggested that she find a support group and she met PFLAG founder Jeanne Manford and her husband Jules.

Ms Starr then hosted the first PFLAG meeting in her home for 35 parents and PFLAG eventually became a national group.

She was elected as the first national president in 1981 and for ten years, oversaw 250 local chapters and organised national events from her home.

PFLAG later outgrew her home office and began hiring staff.

Speaking at the group’s tenth anniversary, Ms Starr spoke about why she helped set up PFLAG: “We did it out of love and anger and a sense of injustice, and because we had to tell the world the truth about our children.”

The great-grandmother died last week in her sleep after having surgery.

Jody M Huckaby, PFLAG national’s executive director, said: “Adele Starr was one of the pioneers of PFLAG.

“It is because of her commitment to organising the many people who were working for the common goal of equality for all into the organisation 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.”