ABA cites UHLC Alumna Phyllis Frye for championing civil rights for LGBT community  

UHLC Alumna Phyllis Frye

Jan. 18, 2018 — The American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is honoring University of Houston Law Center Alumna Phyllis Randolph Frye '81 with its 6th annual Stonewall Award for her long-time efforts on behalf of LGBT causes.

Frye, a pioneer in the transgender movement, became the nation's first openly transgender judge when she was appointed to the Houston Municipal Court bench in 2010. She has been honored numerous times for her legal and political activism on issues involving the transgender community.

"To be so honored by the ABA is also a reflection on the terrific education and support that I received almost 40 years ago from the University of Houston Law Center," Frye said.

Frye will receive her award during a ceremony Feb. 3, at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Frye is an Eagle Scout and was a member of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in civil engineering and an M.S. in mechanical engineering. She was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1972, and transitioned in 1976 before earning an M.B.A. and J.D. from UH. She is a senior partner in the firm of Frye, Benavidez & O'Neil PLLC, where she devotes her practice exclusively to taking transgender clients – both adults and minors – through the Texas courts to change the clients' names and genders on their legal documents.

Named after the New York City Stonewall Inn police raid and riot of June 28, 1969, which was a turning point in the gay rights movement, the award recognizes lawyers who have considerably advanced lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in the legal profession and successfully championed LGBT legal causes. 

According to its statement in announcing the award, "The ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity leads the ABA's commitment to diversity, inclusion and full and equal participation by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the ABA, the legal profession and society. Created in 2007, the commission seeks to secure equal treatment in the ABA, the legal profession and the justice system without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity."

Click here to read a 2015 New York Times profile of Frye.

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