Trailblazing Transgender Activist Lily McBeth Dies at 80
Lily McBeth, a transgender activist and substitute school teacher who fought to keep her job in the Ocean City school district after transitioning, died on September 24th at the age of 80. NJ.com has a nice writeup about her legacy:
McBeth taught in the Eagleswood school district as a substitute for five years before undergoing sex reassignment surgery in 2005. She reapplied for her job as a woman and was rehired, but parent opposition forced the school board to revisit its hiring of McBeth at a raucous hearing that ended with McBeth still employed.
“The school board did the right thing,” Garden State Equality founder Steven Goldstein says, noting its decision came a year before New Jersey passed a law protecting transgender people from discrimination. “Lily just exuded unbelievable strength and moral courage. She was a remarkable, remarkable woman.”
[McBeth’s attorney Leslie Ann] Farber says that after that victory, McBeth, of Little Egg Harbor, was invited to appear on several television and radio talk shows. Farber recalled that at the meeting, many students addressed the school board to support McBeth.
“She was a symbol of somebody who was willing to fight for her rights,” Farber says. “I found her an inspiration—somebody that wouldn’t take ‘no” for an answer.”
Our thoughts go out to McBeth’s family and friends.