Stephanie Byers: Kansas could elect its first transgender lawmaker

Ms Byers’ candidacy came after retiring from a 32-year career as a music teacher

A retired school teacher could become the first transgender politician in Kansas if elected to the state’s legislature in November.

Stephanie Byers ran unopposed in the Democrat primary on 4 August to fill the seat vacated by former Kansas House minority leader, Jim Ward.

She will face Republican candidate Cyndi Howerton in the traditionally Democrat-leaning district 86, which previously voted for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“As far as Kansas being ready to elect a transgender person, it is kind of about time,” Ms Byers told the Associated Press.

If she wins, Ms Byers would become the first transgender person in the Kansas legislature and one of only four across the country, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Danica Roem of Virginia was the first transgender person elected to a state legislature in 2017, followed in 2018 by Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker in New Hampshire, and Brianna Titone, who won in a previously Republican district of Colorado.

In Kansas, there have been two LGBT+ lawmakers elected to the Kansas state legislature, Susan Ruiz and Brandon Woodward, and 11 elected officials throughout the state.

“Stephanie has shattered a long-standing political barrier in Kansas and is poised to join a small but growing number of out trans state legislators across the country,” LGBTQ Victory Fund CEO, Annise Parker, said in a statement.

“Stephanie’s victory, like every victory for a trans candidate, will inspire more trans leaders to run for office in their communities and that will be transformative.”

Ms Byers’ candidacy came after retiring from a 32-year career as a music teacher, most recently at Wichita North High School. Five of those years were after she transitioned in 2014.

She is running on protecting school funding, ending hospital closures, expanding Medicaid, and ending discrimination.

When asked if Ms Byers being a transgender person would be an issue in the upcoming election, her opponent, Ms Howerton, told AP that her campaign is focused on job creation, education and healthcare.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in