Stephanie Byers – Kansas House of Representatives, 86th District

by | July 30, 2020

Stephanie Byers files her candidacy declaration for Kansas House of Representatives

Stephanie Byers chats with EQKS state chair Kerry Wilks

Contribute to Stephanie Byers' campaign

Welcome to the first in a series of profiles of LGBTQ candidates running for public office in Kansas.  Today we’re going to introduce you to Stephanie Byers, a Native American trans woman living in Wichita. We first met Stephanie in late 2014, shortly after she publicly transistioned while “on the job” as the band and orchestra teacher at Wichita’s North High.  We were immediately impressed by her poise and demeanor, and featured her as a speaker at 2015’s annual Equality Day at the Kansas state capitol. Here’s what Stephanie told us about coming out:

“Coming out to live authentically can be a scary thing.


“I chose to come out publicly as a transgender woman and to start living my authentic self in 2014. I’d been teaching for Wichita Public Schools since 1990, so I was fairly well known in educational circles when I transitioned.  I had no idea what to expect, and my fears of rejection ran high. What I encountered was tremendous support.”

Stephanie is an Oklahoman by birth, and a member of the Chickasaw Nation. She and her wife, Lori, own and operate a small business that helps corporations, community groups and schools work with diverse communities.  She’s also been busy as an activist in the Kansas LGBTQ political movement:

“In the years since coming out, I’ve been on Transgender Day of Visibility panels, received the GLSEN-KS State Educator of the Year (2018), the GLSEN National Educator of the Year (2018) and have been a frequent speaker at Kansas Equality Day at the State Capitol.  I even spoke at the ACLU “Don’t Roll Back Our Rights” rally, outside the United States Supreme Court building last October.”

Stephanie has also been on the board of Wichita Pride for the past two years, serving first as Communications Director and then as Board Secretary.

“Since coming out, I’ve had opportunities to address several local community organizations, as well as public school faculties and student bodies.


“It has been an incredible and amazing journey living in Kansas for the last three decades. It’s my sincere hope to take the experience I’ve gained working in public schools, combining it with the passion of activism I’ve embraced, and become a legislator in the Kansas House of Representatives that you can be proud of.”

We’re all proud of you already, Stephanie, and we look forward to your service as Kansas’ first openly-transgender state representative.

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