Lawyer Phyllis Frye, the transgender champion of Houston, has been appointed by Mayor Annise Parker to be a municipal judge. She would be the first transgendered judge in Houston, or Harris County, or maybe Texas, unless someone's been hiding secrets underneath their judicial robes.
The announcement came at yesterday's council meeting. Parker seemed emotional as she introduced Frye, but not everyone was happy.
A group of pastors has protested the move, Fox 26 reports, with Dave Wlech, the executive director of the Houston Area Pastoral Council, leading the charge:
This is not just a benign act. This is someone (Frye) who is very well known as an aggressive activist on sexual diversity issues and very much against the mainstream of most of the people....As we all know municipal court judges are the first step in the elevation of different judgeships. They typically go on to civil district court judges or family court judges and beyond, so this is not a benign appointment. It's a statement. It really is. We'll be calling on the churches to stand up and be involved.
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Frye, by the way, will continue representing Nikki Araguz, the transgendered widow of a Wharton firefighter whose case has drawn nationwide publicity.
After the council meeting, Parker told reporters:
She is a well-qualified attorney. She has done civil and criminal work for decades. She is also a certified professional engineer so she has pretty good knowledge that will help with building code violations. I think she's a great addition to our judiciary here as an associate municipal judge. I'm very proud I was able to nominate her and she agreed to serve.
Update: Funny bit from our sister paper in San Francisco, SF Weekly.