Dee Skene McKellar

September 6, 1997

Age 55, Houston

above, at 3rd Annual International Conference on Transgender Law
and Employment Policy, 8/20/94, click for event program

Dee McKellar Dies Serving Houston LGBT Community
(by Phyllis Frye, used with permission, from this link)

[in photo, Dee McKellar is second from left; others are, left
to right, Cynthia Lee, Phyllis Frye, Vivian Mckenzie, 1992]

I must report with the greatest of sadness that one of our dear TG sisters, Dee Skene McKellar of Houston, a renowned nonoperative transsexual and national TG community leader, died at age 55, September 6, 1997. She had just moved to her new apartment within a few miles of the Montrose area of Houston. On that Saturday evening she had ridden her bicycle into the Montrose area to participate in Q-patrol activities. (Q-patrol is a volunteer civilian radio patrol that serves as eyes and ears for the Houston Police Department on weekend evenings to protect citizens of the Montrose area from homophobic thugs.) As she and her friends were being assigned their rounds, she was felled by a massive heart attack and died before reaching the hospital. CPR was begun and Houston's EMS arrived within minutes of the attack. They treated McKellar with the utmost of professionalism and respect.

During the next day, many of Dee's friends gathered along with her daughter and planned for the activist's remembrance. The service was an open casket, grave-site service on Saturday, September 13th, at 11AM, at the Woodlawn Cemetery. Everyone that knew and loved Dee (or David, as she was known in the NASA area prior to 1991) was invited. The Q-Patrol served as honor guard and all transgendered activists were encouraged to wear whatever activist T-shirt they may have possessed to the service.

Dee McKellar was a national leader in the transgender community. In 1991, she was one of the founding committee members for what has become the International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy (ICTLEP) now in its seventh year. She served as a Director and as its Secretary for several years. With Dee's assistance and push, ICTLEP has been in the foreground of transgender re-integration within the lesbian/gay/bisexual community. Dee assisted in organizing, and attended, both the 2nd National Transgender Event in Washington DC in October 1995 and the 3rd National Transgender Event in Washington DC in February 1997. She spoke to countless people needing help who called, wrote or e-mailed the ICTLEP office.

While serving as a Director of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, Dee served on the NLGLA committee responsible for the unanimous NLGLA Board vote in August 1997 that brought bisexuals and transgenders fully within the bylaws of that organization. Dee also served as a Director of Gender PAC for a short time assisting with organizational and bylaw procedures.

At the state level, Dee was one of four who planned, and one of twelve who participated in the transgender protest of the 1995 Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby's March on Austin in the spring of 1995 in Austin. This LGRL event was to call attention of Legislators to violence and hate crimes against gays and lesbians. The transgenders who were with Dee resented being purposefully left out of the LGRL push. As a result of the protest, most of the LGRL marchers were persuaded that the TG protest was right and proper and that TG issues of violence and hate crimes were the same issues as the gay and lesbian folks. Also, in that same legislative session, Dee assisted in the planning, and attended the hearings for transgender legislation dealing with document changes.

On the local level, Dee hosted two Transgender Employment Day events. She was a Director of Spectrum, a member of Q-Patrol, a member of Lesbians in Business (LiB), a volunteer with both the Houston READ Commission and Annise Parker's Campaign for City Council, co-moderator of the local Helping CrossDressers Anonymous (HCDA) chapter, and an instructor on transgender issues for classes of the Houston Police Academy. Dee is know to many others in Houston. She worked for the League of Women Voters several years ago and was a beloved member of the Houston Writers League.

Previously known as David McKellar, she attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and completed three years of engineering studies. She worked for Boeing in Seattle and later for contractors in the NASA - Clear Lake City area in computer flight simulation design for many of the early astronauts. She had a private pilots' license and loved the skies. She was also an avid photographer. So when you look up at the clouds, smile in case she is about to snap the shutter. Dee is survived by her proud and loving daughter, her mother and two brothers, and a very large community of friends.


I thank Katrina Rose for these photos. Above was taken at the 1997
ICTLEP Conference (International Conference on Transgender Law and Employment Policy).
The woman to her left is Melinda Whiteway, who from 1998-99 was the female co-chair of the National Lesbian-Gay Law Association. The photo below was from June 1997.

above and below, 1993

I would appreciate receiving more photos of Dee McKellar
for this page, please email me