The Current

Transgender judge Phyllis Frye helped put the 'T' in LGBTQ

When Phyllis Frye was in her 20s, a decision to come out as transgender cost her ... her family, her children and her profession. Phyllis Frye joins us to share her journey from being a trans law student in the 70s, to becoming the first openly transgender U.S. judge.
For 25 years, transgender pioneer Phyllis Frye has fought to put the "T" in LGBTQ. (Christopher Brown/Texas Standard)
After I got into law school, professors had quite a debate about whether I was going to get in or not. It wasn't because I didn't do okay on my  LSAT  or because my grade average wasn't good, it was because I was transgender.- Phyllis Frye on becoming a lawyer
Phyllis Frye as a new lawyer in 1981.
Phyllis Frye took her triumphant walk across the stage at the University of Houston nearly 35 years ago, in 1981. At the time, the idea of "transgender rights" was met mostly with confusion... or outright hostility.

♦ Once a Pariah, Now a Judge

Her journey to become Phyllis began long before that.

And in her journey since, she has helped secure some of the most important legal victories for transgender rights in the U.S. and helped put the "T" in LGBTQ. 

Phyllis Frye is an Associate Judge for the City of Houston's Municipal Courts and a Senior Partner with Frye, Oaks and Benavidez, where she devotes her practice to transgender clients. She is the first openly transgender person to sit as a judge in the United States.

This segment was produced by The Current's Gord Westmacott.

Judge Phyllis Frye's moving acceptance speech after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 21st annual Transgender Unity Banquet in Houston, Texas, in 2013.