R.I.P Kathryn McGuire, Houston's Transvestite Socialite

Categories: Spaced City

kathryn mcguire020711.jpg
Kathryn McGuire, dead at 68
Kathryn McGuire, who made a big splash in the Houston social scene as a transvestite before undergoing a sex-change operation and moving away, has died.

Her son James tells Hair Balls she passed away at the age of 68 in Palm Springs, California, last week.

We did a feature on her and James as he opened a play in New York and remembered growing up with the unique person who was Charles and then Kathryn.

Here's how he describes her:

Kathryn made a splash on the social scene in the late eighties and nineties as Houston's own transvestite millionaire socialite. She gave generously to all kinds of Houston's AIDS organizations and was one of the first to sit on a board to find a cure for the then unknown disease. She was involved in politics and ran for Houston City Council garnering her national publicity as one of the first open transvestites to run for public office in the United States.

That's from the online obit here.

McGuire was pretty much sui generis, doing stand-up comedy, attending presidential inaugurations, blazing paths every day.

She's also survived by a daughter, Barbara, and two grandchildren.

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I was just telling a colleague about "Katie/Chuck" as I used to call her.  When I pulled her up on Google - I found this.  I wrote the theme song to her documentary "The End of Charlie McGuire" back when the video was in its final stages.  Got to meet her once - never called me Jim - only "McNamara."  A pioneer in her own time. 


If anyone is interested in learning more about Kathryn's experience around her sex-change, check out The Last Days of Charles/Kathryn, a documentary by Houston filmmaker (and, in the interest of full disclosure, my dad) Brian Huberman. There's a preview on his Web site brianhuberman(dot)com. She was quite a force; I wish her family the best.

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