A colorful member of Houston’s transgender community has passed away. Kathryn Leigh McGuire, born Charles McGuire, died February 2 in her home in Palm Springs, California.
Born in Corpus Christi in 1941, McGuire founded M&C Consolidated, Inc., a stabilized sand company. The success of this business, along with McGuire’s openness and visibility in the 1980s and ’90s, earned her the nickname “Houston’s own transvestite millionaire socialite.”
In 1999, McGuire was the subject of an off-Broadway play, written by her openly gay son, James. The play, Daddy Kathryn, was described as an “autobiographical, highly neurotic semi-theatre piece about Kathryn McGuire, a millionaire transvestite who runs for city council in Houston, Texas.” McGuire also performed a stand-up comedy routine around New York City, detailing her life as a post-operative transsexual.
Houston filmmaker Brian Huberman chronicled McGuire’s life in The Last Days of Charles/Kathryn, a 1995 documentary that aired on PBS.
McGuire made an unsuccessful run for Houston City Council in 1989, becoming Houston’s first openly transgender candidate for that office.
Current Houston City Council candidate Jenifer Rene Pool, who owns JRP, a construction management consulting company, remembers McGuire.
“I remember hearing her name and I knew who she was,” Pool told OutSmart. “For me, on a personal basis, it was an inspiration in the sense that she was able to be who she was, which showed a great deal of courage, especially in that period of time.”
McGuire ran against incumbent Vince Ryan for the District C vote, coming in second with 8.2 percent of the vote.
“I intend to do better,” Pool, a past president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, laughed. “I’ve done the leg work. But it was inspirational in that she didn’t run away from who she was, and I never have either.” —NANCY FORD