The transgender community is stepping up big time after three historical election wins for the country. As always, we like to celebrate the accomplishments of the LGBT community but we are not congratulating these ladies because they are the "first" but because they are the beginning of a diversity that will continue from here.
Historical Mark: Stephanie is the first transgender and first native for the Kansas House of Representatives, District 86.
LGBT Involvement: In a historic win on election night, Stephanie Byers was elected to serve as the first openly transgender legislator for Kansas’s 86th District. Byers, a retired public high school teacher from Wichita said that she felt that there was a serious need for educational reform at the state level and took the lead, making a decision to run for office to help make a change and to prioritize education in her state.
In an interview with a Kansas news website, Byers explained her decision to run for the legislative seat. She said, “I didn’t really have much time outside of my class to be able to stand up and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t right… “And so when I retired, that’s one of the things that kind of percolated around in my head.”Byers, who is also a Native American and a member of Chickasaw Nation, has broken historical records by being the first transgender person of color to hold public office in the Midwest.
With almost 30 years of hands-on experience as a music leader for North High School in Wichita, Byers is an ideal candidate to push for educational reform in her communities. In 2018, she was honored as the National Educator of the Year by GLSEN.
After coming out in 2014, Byers began to take initiative and become an advocate for the LGBTQ community, speaking out at rallies, giving presentations, and serving as Communications Director for Wichita Pride. Surely, her contributions will have a deep impact in Kansas and set the stage for America as a whole to grow, as citizens around the country cry out for more diversity in representation.
Fun Fact: Stephanie was born in Oklahoma and is part of the Indigenous Chickasaw tribe.
Historical Mark: Taylor Small is Vermont's first openly transgender state representative. At the age of 26 she has been elected into the Vermont House of Representatives.
LGBT Involvement: Taylor wants to move from employer dependent healthcare to single-payer system for healthcare services. She is the director for the Pride Center of Vermont, a non-profit that addresses the needs for Vermont LGBT
Fun fact: Taylor Small is also a drag queen. Her alternate persona is @nikkichampagne
Historical Mark: Sarah McBride is the first transgender to become State Senator by wining 73% of the vote. Her election into the legislator also makes her the highest ranking transgender in the country.
LGBT Involvement: Sarah is a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign and made history as being the first open transgender to speak at a the Democratic Convention. In 2013 she was also advocated to Delaware's gender identity non-discrimination act, which was ultimately signed into law.
Fun Fact: In college Sarah worked for the Obama administration. It made her the first transgender to work in the White House in any capacity.