Stephanie Byers, a retired high school teacher from Wichita, has become the first trans person of Native American heritage to be elected to any state legislature, according to projected results in Kansas.
Byers’ projected win of a state House seat also makes her the first trans person to win any statewide office in Kansas, the Advocate.com reported.
The Democrat beat Republican challenger Cyndi Howerton by 486 votes in preliminary results announced early Wednesday by Kansas.com.
“We’ve made history here,” Byers, 57, told supporters of her projected win.
“We’ve done something in Kansas most people thought would never happen, and we did it with really no push-back, by just focusing on the issues,” Kansas.com reported.
Earlier Tuesday, Delaware elected the nation’s first transgender state senator, activist Sarah McBride, a Democrat.
Only four trans people have ever previously been elected to serve in state legislatures, according to OutforAmerica.org.
Byers is also a member of the Chickasaw Nation. She and her wife, Lori Haas, run Gender.Training, which helps corporations, community groups and schools understand and work with diverse communities, Kansas.com said.
“For me, being transgender is just another aspect of who I am,” she told the Wichita ABC affiliate last year. “I am also a member of the Chikasaw Nation. I ride a motorcycle. I’m a musician. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.
“These are all just things that make a part of who I am,” she said. “It’s not what totally defines me.”
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