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Never Marry an Icon - The Loss of One

Each year many wonderful entertainers and people in the public eye unfortunately pass, and for the most part many of them in our lives will go unnoticed. It is, after all, sometimes hard to grieve for the loss of someone we have never met, or that we are distanced from either physically or socially.

So why is it other celebrity deaths produce a sense of grief and loss? A celebrity, or iconic performer, that touched our lives at some pivotal point becomes like a friend we view from a distance. They open our minds to new ideas, they inspire us, they motivate us, and they have an uncanny ability at times to help us feel good when no when else can, whether it’s watching them on the big screen or simply listening to them.

Sometimes it can just be the simple notion that they allow us a sense of just being ourselves when surrounded by a world of conformity. Bowie, Prince, Robin Williams, all incredibly talented and unique performers.

However let’s not also forget Pete Burns who passed recently of a massive cardiac arrest. Pete, from ‘Dead or Alive’, may only be remembered by many for being a one-hit wonder and someone in recent years that made every Top 10 list of “Botched up Plastic Surgeries”.

Pete Burns was more than that. In a time of Gender Bending in the 80’s he took that concept and bent it another 69 degrees. He also had a cut throat no bullshit attitude and was ready to speak his mind with an acid tongue well before Nicki Minaj was even thought of. He didn’t just teach me to wear whatever I liked and not care what society thought; he taught me it was ok to speak my mind.

So when we mourn a celebrity death, we don’t always shed a tear because we knew them personally, we shed a tear because in some way, shape or form, they helped us know ourselves a little better.



US Founder of PFLAG Passes Away at 90

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.”

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