The Legacy and Career of Deb Murphy

By Logan French

Members of Hatch Youth decorate their float in preparation for a Pride parade. Photo courtesy of the Montrose Center.
Members of Hatch Youth decorate their float in preparation for a Pride parade.
Photo courtesy of the Montrose Center.

I knew her as a woman who sat behind dark glasses with a nearly constant, slight frown. She was quick to tell you harsh truths, exceptionally stubborn, and possibly loved more intensely than anyone I have ever known. Today, she appears quite different: she wears clear lenses.

Deb Murphy post- Hurricane Harvey. All of her older pictures were destroyed in the flood. Photo courtesy of Alex Ellis.
Deb Murphy post- Hurricane Harvey. All of her older pictures were destroyed in the flood.
Photo courtesy of Alex Ellis.

This woman is Deb Murphy. Calling herself “as old as dirt,” she plotted her retirement plans for years, which included pouring herself into projects like creating monster movies with friends. Then, on July 17, 2020, after spending eighteen years as an LGBTQ youth advocate, she retired; but until that moment she had worked tirelessly on the “Hatch Plan for World Domination,” which involves safety for all LGBTQ youth, especially those in Harris County through Hatch Youth.

Deb’s “Proudest Accomplishment”
Throughout her life, Deb has been praised as an important voice in Houston’s LGBTQ community. She received the Montrose Center’s Employee of the Year award in 2010 as well as the 2015 Outstanding Public Citizen Award from the Houston Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Deb is known for her queer youth advocacy, public speaking, and training workshops throughout the nation. However, she says that her proudest accomplishment is “surviving her childhood” as her parents were “difficult [people] to be raised by.”

Deb Murphy (right) walks with the Hatch Youth banner during a Houston Pride parade. Photo courtesy of the Montrose Center.
Deb Murphy (right) walks with the Hatch Youth banner during a Houston Pride parade.
Photo courtesy of the Montrose Center.

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The Montrose Center empowers the Houston community—primarily lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals and their families—to live healthier, more fulfilling lives.

Hatch Youth is Houston’s oldest, currently active, social group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth.

The Trevor Project, founded in 1998, is an organization dedicated to providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer young people under 25.

The Trevor Project, founded in 1998, is an organization dedicated to providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer young people under 25.

Daniella Carter’s touching, personal speech highlights the sad reality that many LGBTQ youths must face.

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