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Kansas elects first transgender person of color to serve in state legislature

Kansas elects first transgender person of color to serve in state legislature
© Courtesy Byers campaign

Kansas voters elected Stephanie Byers (D) to its state legislature, making her the first transgender person of color elected to a state legislature, as well as the first transgender legislator across the Midwest. 

Byers is projected to win over Republican challenger Cyndi Howerton, according to the Wichita Eagle. Preliminary results from Tuesday night show Byers with 54.4 percent of the vote over Howerton’s 45.6 percent in the state's 86th House District, which encompasses parts of Wichita. 

Annise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement that Byers “shattered a lavender ceiling in Kansas and its impact will reverberate well beyond the borders of the state.” 

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“While cynical politicians attempted to weaponize trans issues for political gain this cycle, Stephanie’s victory is a powerful reminder that most voters reject the politics of bigotry and will elect trans people who have a positive vision for their communities,” Parker said. 

Byers’s win comes as Sarah McBride appears to have won a seat in the Delaware state Senate against Republican Steve Washington, making her the first openly trans state senator in the U.S. Both wins come three years after Virginia Del. Danica Roem (D) unseated Del. Bob Marshall (R) to become the nation’s first openly trans lawmaker. 

Byers was a teacher for 29 years in Wichita before coming out as a transgender woman in 2014, according to the Wichita Eagle.