News • March 18, 2021

Women's History Month: Honoring Stephanie Byers

From all of us at Equality North Carolina, Happy Women's History Month! We join you in celebrating the resilience and power of women from all walks of life -- particularly those helping to transform the political arena.

Throughout March, ENC is spotlighting trans women who have been elected to political office from all across America. These history-makers demonstrate not only the importance of representation in the highest offices of leadership, but the political and social progress of American culture when it comes to womanhood, visibility and the shifting tides of power.

Today, we're honoring Stephanie Byers, the first openly transgender person to serve in the Kansas Legislature and the first transgender Native American person elected to office in America. Byers is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Prior to being elected last November, Byers spent 29 years working as a high school band, orchestra and jazz teacher. In 2018, she was named Educator of The Year by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

Byers made a national name for herself when she gave a speech on behalf of GLSEN on the day the court was hearing arguments in Bostock vs. Clayton County. During her campaign, she centered health needs and unemployment, key issues for her constituents as they battled the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the election cycle.

"With each election, we see the various state legislatures begin to resemble more and more the constituencies they represent," Byers said at the time of her win. "Each election we see more of ourselves in the people we elect to power."

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