Stephanie Byers

Stephanie Byers Courtesy of Byers For Kansas

Stephanie Byers has dedicated her life to the young people of Kansas and has recently extended her reach by becoming both the first openly transgender woman elected to the Kansas House of Representatives and the first transgender Indigenous person elected in the United States. Byers started as a teacher after receiving her Bachelor of Music Education from Oklahoma Christian University and Master of Music from Kansas State University. She taught for 29 years for Wichita Public Schools, and was named GLSEN-Kansas State Educator of the Year and GLSEN National Educator of the Year during her career. During her time at Wichita Public Schools, she was the award-winning Director of Bands and Orchestras at Wichita North High School, as well as Director of the Fine Arts Department Chair. She is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and has called Wichita home for over three decades. In addition to her responsibilities as a State Representative and impressive tenure as a teacher, Byers, along with her wife Lori, owns and operates a company that informs corporations, community groups, and schools about diverse communities. Byers sees her position as an opportunity to continue her work that has involved speaking at community organizations, serving as the communications director for Wichita Pride, and volunteering for Wichita nonprofits. For Byers, living her authentic life has “had no negative impact on my success,” she tells GO. “If anything, it amplified it to a larger audience. It gives me the opportunity to use my voice to speak out on behalf of trans people and especially trans youth.” —NT

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