It is with great sadness that I write this note. The news of Adele Starr’s death touches the hearts of all who are active in PFLAG and all who have been touched by her vision of a future where equality is truly for all.
PFLAG as we know it – a national organization that unites parents, families, friends, allies, and LGBT people themselves together for the common goal of equality – would not exist were it not for Larry and Adele’s vision and labor. While Jeanne Manford took the first steps and did what would be PFLAG’s first grassroots organizing to provide support, Adele Starr was at the heart of uniting people nationwide to make this effort a visible and powerful force in communities everywhere. She was right when she said that the people who come together to call themselves PFLAG, “will not settle for less than [their] full rights in the pursuit of happiness.”
It was in their home here in Los Angeles that the first West Coast gathering of PFLAG members took place in 1976. And, it was because of her care and tenacity that PFLAG came together as a federation of chapters and was incorporated as an organization in 1982.
Adele Starr was PFLAG’s founding president. She was a person who sensed what had to be done and did it. Without her foresight, the hundreds of thousands of people over the years who have been touched, educated, and healed through PFLAG might not have become a reality. She was a PFLAG mom in the best sense of the word. Indeed, she was the PFLAG mom doing support, education, and advocacy that would be the model for the future.
Without Adele Starr, PFLAG as the national organization we have today might never had become a reality. As we look around at what we have accomplished, we remember her pioneering role at a time when that role was less than popular. But she, like Jeanne Manford and like the millions who would come after her, knew that what was right would always matter more than what was popular.
As an organization, we at PFLAG mourn her loss, but we celebrate her wisdom, perseverance, and her loving care for all of our children.
I would like to personally convey to Adele's family my hopes that they will be comforted at this time of loss by the history she created and with the knowledge that the struggle for LGBT equality on a national scale began with her. May her memory be for a blessing.
Rabbi David M. Horowitz
PFLAG National President
December 10, 2010