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Adele & Lawrence Starr

Adele Starr was born as Ida Seltzer in Brooklyn, New York on February 10, 1920. When she was a teenager, she changed her name to Adele. In 1941, she married Lawrence Starr, an accountant, and remained in New York till the 1950s. Moving to Los Angeles, the Starrs settled in Brentwood, where Adele helped her husband establish a private accounting practice. Adele and Larry had four sons and a daughter.

In 1974, their son, Philip Starr, told Adele and Larry that he was gay. Adele was initially upset, but Philip encouraged her and Larry to join a support group. By 1976, Adele and Larry began hosting a support group for parents and families of gay men and lesbian women. That year, they founded Parents and Friends of Gays in Los Angeles, which is the predecessor to the Los Angeles chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). In 1979, Adele Starr spoke at the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, and also met with similar groups from around the country. In 1981, Adele and Larry Starr hosted the national organizing conference of PFLAG at their home in Brentwood, and Adele was named the organization's first national president.

Throughout the rest of her life, she continued to be an advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights, with a particular focus on support for gay and lesbian youth in schools, communication with religious institutions, educational outreach, and support for families and friends of GLBT individuals.

Adele Starr died on December 10, 2010 in Los Angeles at the age of 90.

Adele Starr's papers are held at ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives: Correspondence, minutes, photographs, clippings, manuscripts, financial records, pamphlets, education materials, flyers, posters, audiocassettes, textiles, ephemera and a banner from Adele Starr, documenting the activities of the Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc. (PFLAG), and of Parents and Friends of Gays (1976-1981), the predecessor to PFLAG's Los Angeles chapter (PFLAG/LA). Starr was founder of Parents and Friends of Gays and first president of PFLAG. The bulk of the material dates from 1977 to 1996, and includes the Federation's incorporation papers; correspondence from parents and children; records of the annual international conferences; educational materials; and records of outreach activities to schools and religious communities to support, educate and advocate for the rights of gay men and lesbians. 

Source: Gold, Scott, "Adele Starr dies at 90; unflagging gay-rights activist," Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2010.

Further Readings:

Beyond Acceptance: Parents of Lesbians & Gays Talk About Their Experiences by Carolyn W. Griffin and Marian J. Wirth
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Rev Upd edition (November 15, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312167814
ISBN-13: 978-0312167813
Amazon: Beyond Acceptance: Parents of Lesbians & Gays Talk About Their Experiences

"Mom, Dad, I'm gay." When a parent hears these words, the initial shock is often followed by feelings ranging from anger and denial to fear and guilt. It's also the beginning of a difficult journey that, with understanding and emotional support, can lead to acceptance and beyond.

Now fully revised and updated, Beyond Acceptance is a ground-breaking book that provides parents the comfort and knowledge they need to accept the gay children and build stronger family relationships. Based on the experiences of other parents, this book lets them know they are not alone and helps them through the emotional stages leading to reconciliation with their children.

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Tags: activist: adele starr, gay classics
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