Phyllis Frye

Growing up in Texas, Phyllis Frye was the all-American boy – an Eagle Scout and commander of her high school ROTC class. But when she came out as transgender in 1972, Frye lost her military career and her first marriage ended. She transitioned from male to female in 1976. As a result, she was dismissed from her job as an engineer.

The next year, to fight depression and ensure a future income, she went back to school to study business administration and law at the University of Houston’s Law Center and College of Business. As a student, Frye successfully lobbied every elected official in Houston to get rid of the city ordinance against cross-dressing that made her subject to arrest on a daily basis.

In 1979, 1981, 1983 and 1985, Frye, then out as transgender, was elected as a delegate to the Texas Democratic Convention. She was instrumental in encouraging the Texas Democratic Party to adopt a GLBT-rights supportive plank in its official platform in 1983.

Frye is the founder and former executive director of the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy Inc. She also founded the Transgender Law Conference.

In 1995, Frye began the “Phyllabuster” e-mail network that keeps thousands of activists around the world informed about related legal and political issues related to transgender people, as well as lesbian, gay and bisexual issues.
Frye remains a practicing attorney in Houston, where she lives with Trish, her legal spouse of over 30 years.