Trailblazing Pittsburgh Transgender Advocate Wendi Miller Has Died at 75

Wendi Miller. Photo by Cooper Miller.

Wendi Miller, owner of the renowned Miller Frame for 50 years, passed away on Thursday, April 6, 2023 at her home.

Miller was a trailblazing advocate for the transgender community of Pittsburgh in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Wendi employed predominantly transgender women at Miller Frame. The East Liberty location opened on February 14, 1982, and the shop came to serve as a refuge and center for the emerging transgender community of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette press clipping, June 10, 1993. Courtesy of Cooper Miller.

Miller served as president of Transpitt, which was established in 1982 as a support group for transgender people and their partners and was a co-founder of the Pittsburgh Transsexual Support Group in 1995. Transpitt and Pittsburgh Transsexual Support Group were two of the earliest support and advocacy groups for the trans community in Pittsburgh.

Wendi went to Washington D.C. in 1995 to advocate for the inclusion of gender identity in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act during the first national Congressional Transgender Lobby Day.

In 1995, Miller worked with an ad hoc committee of the Pittsburgh Human Rights Commission to protect transgender and gender-variant persons from discrimination in housing and employment, redefining the protected category of sex to include those who are changing or have changed their gender identity.

Wendi appeared as a guest on the Ricki Lake Show in 1996 to discuss transgender issues.

Wendi with her son Cooper on the Ricki Lake Show in 1996. Screenshot courtesy of Cooper Miller.

Miller then served as an inaugural appointee to then-Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s LGBT Advisory Council from 2009 to 2012. Pittsburgh City Council will recognize and honor Wendi Miller’s contribution to the Pittsburgh LGBTQ Community on Tuesday, April 11th by declaring April 8, 2023, to be “Wendi Miller Day” in the City of Pittsburgh. The proclamation is sponsored by City Councilman Bruce Kraus.

She is survived by her life partner Dorcas Evans-Miller, her son Cooper, daughter-in-law Juliette Richey-Miller, and her cat Kelly.

Rest in power, Wendi.

Wendi Miller with her family, via Facebook.
Jim Sheppard is a resident of Downtown Pittsburgh. Jim served as a Commissioner on the City of Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission which investigates instances of discrimination in the City of Pittsburgh and recommends necessary protections in our City Code to provide all people in Pittsburgh with equal opportunities. He has worked for Pittsburgh City Council, the Pittsburgh Mayor, and the Allegheny County Controller. For five years he was the President of the Steel City Stonewall Democrats. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. (He / Him / His)