Film Loving Highsmith at MFAH -- Part 2 Phyllis Frye Retrospective
We speak with filmmaker about the film Loving Highsmith. Loving Highsmith is a unique look at the life of celebrated American author Patricia Highsmith based on her diaries and notebooks and the intimate reflections of her lovers, friends and family. Focusing on Highsmith’s quest for love and her troubled identity, the film sheds new light on her life and writing. Most of Highsmith’s novels were adapted for the big screen; the best known of these are Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Carol, a partly autobiographic novel, was the first lesbian story with a happy ending to be published in 1950s America. But Highsmith herself was forced to lead a double life and had to hide her vibrant love affairs from her family and the public. Only in her unpublished writings did she reflect on her private life. Excerpts from these notes voiced by Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Top of the Lake), beautifully interwoven with archive material of her and her most famous novel adaptions, create a vivid, touching portrait of one of the most fascinating female writers.
GUEST: Eva Vitija
Then we continue our interview with Phyllis Frye about her activism and her beginnings in the community. We continue discussions that are discussed in the book about her, "Phyllis Frye and the Fight for Transgender Rights". The first openly transgender judge to be appointed in the United States, the first attorney to obtain corrected birth certificates for transgender people who had not undergone gender confirmation surgery, a survivor of conversion therapy, and author of a law review article that helped thousands of employers adopt supportive policies for their workers, Phyllis Frye is truly a pioneer in the fight for transgender rights.
Among her many accomplishments, Frye founded the first national organization devoted to shaping transgender law—the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy, which has since created a body of work that includes the International Bill of Gender Rights—trained a cadre of future trans activists, and built the first national movement for transgender legal and political rights.
Based on interviews with Frye, Phyllis Frye and the Fight for Transgender Rights covers her early life, the discrimination she faced while struggling with her identity—including being discharged from the army and fired from a subsequent job at her alma mater, Texas A&M—her transition in 1976, her many years of activism, and her current position as an associate judge for the municipal courts of Houston.
This gripping account of Frye’s efforts to establish and protect the constitutional rights of transgender individuals not only fills a gap in existing histories of LGBTQ+ activism but will also inform and instruct contemporary trans activists.