The teacher whose battles with school boards in conservative areas of New Jersey made her a reluctant symbol of the transgender rights movement has died. Lily McBeth was 80.

Her daughter says McBeth died Sept. 24 near her home in Little Egg Harbor after a long illness.

The former William McBeth had sex reassignment surgery in 2005. The schools' decisions the following year to keep her on as a substitute were hailed around the nation as a model of tolerance and acceptance of transgender Americans.

But she resigned in frustration in 2009 after getting only a handful of assignments.

McBeth's quest to keep teaching riled some parents but largely did not faze students.

Her daughter says McBeth only wanted to be herself.