Addison Perry-Franks, trailblazing trans politician who fought against vile bathroom bills, dies aged 39

Addison Perry-Franks speaks behind an American flag

Addison Perry-Franks, a talented filmmaker and steadfast trans Texan Democrat who sought a career in politics to combat transphobia, has died. She was 39.

Her wife, Lacey Franks, confirmed her death in a Facebook post 1 January. “The love of my life has passed away today,” she wrote.

“I don’t have all of the details till the autopsy comes back. The world is a darker place without her light shining in it.”

Perry-Franks died at Cogdell Memorial Hospital in Snyder, per reports, after her wife rushed her to the hospital after became ill.

Who was Addison Perry-Franks?

A passionate West Texas politician, Perry-Franks vied for a seat in the House of Representatives in District 83 and for mayor of Synder, her hometown, last year.

While she lost both races, her impact rippled across the local community. Later explaining to Houston-based outlet OutSmart the reason she got into politics in the first place – to push back against anti-trans lawmakers.

In 2017, Republican governor Greg Abbott attempted to bulldoze through a barbed anti-trans bathroom bill in the Texas legislature, even setting up a taxpayer-funded session to do so.

While the bill failed, its impact on trans folk, such as Perry-Franks, who ran a computer repair shop, were felt for years since, knotting transphobia into the daily lives of its residents.

“I had a problem at a local store that wouldn’t let me use the restroom,” she told the outlet.

“I publicized the incident, and the store’s corporate head wound up coming to Snyder to retrain all the employees and make the chain more LGBT-inclusive.”

Perry-Franks sought to unseat one of the bill’s authors, Republican Dustin Burrows, in the reliably red district.

While she wasn’t able to shore up enough support in the densely conservative patch, she succeeded in nettling right-wingers with her progressive campaign promises to boost education spending and increase healthcare access.

“Knocking on doors and talking to people, they’re very friendly,” she reflected at the time.

“But the local media isn’t covering my campaign, and some Lubbock conservative radio shows really went after me. I got hate mail and death threats from that — most of them not even from Texas.

“But it’s not as much as I thought it would be.”

A near-death experience spurred Perry-Franks to transition publicly and live her truth in 2018, going on to remarry her wife of 10 years after legally changing her name.

The loving couple has five children – two each from previous relationships, and one together. Perry-Franks coming out as trans even inspired two of her youngestchildren to come out as non-binary.

She was, above all, remembered by her community as capturing the ingenuity and resilience of those willing to stand up for what they believe in.

“Her determination to stand up for West Texas against so many odds could never be matched, even in the face of defeat,” the Texas Democratic Women of South Plains wrote in a Facebook post.

“Please keep her wife, Lacey Perry-Franks, and her family in your thoughts during this difficult time.”