“The Grandmother of our movement”: The NYT gives trans hero Judge Phyllis Frye her due

By : Billy Manes
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Photo via New York Times

Over the weekend, New York Times journalist Deborah Sontag penned an impressive – OK, inspiring – piece about Phyllis Randolph Frye, a transgender judge with a sharp tongue and an even sharper history. Frye, who scraped her way to acceptance after years of abuse, occupies a slightly more intellectual profile than that of the current crop of trans celebrity. Her path was not one of Karadashians and Barbara Walters interviews, but just the same (and perhaps because of the notice to the issue of transgender acceptance lately), Frye’s fight for justice echoes that much more evidently. Kicked out of home by her father, attempting suicide, fighting for her life, Frye is an unsung hero who we can all admire. And when she came out, so did the worst parts of society, the Times reports.

“In response, she got her house egged, her tires slashed, and her driveway spray-painted with obscenities. Teenagers openly mocked her, the engineering profession blackballed her and the federal government rejected her for a job because of her “desire to impersonate the opposite sex.”

During that bleak, embittering time, Ms. Frye could not have imagined that someday this tiny transgender population would generate a hugely visible movement, and that she would be considered not only one of its pioneers but a pillar of her civic community — the country’s first openly transgender judge.”

Her story is phenomenal and needs to be read and remembered. This is how history is made. Thanks, Phyllis, for all you’ve done.

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