Understanding a Transgender Person with Stephanie Byers

When it comes to making a big transition in life, we are often held back by fear. Fear of judgment, fear of backlash, fear of losing those close to us. But, oftentimes, it takes a big transition to lead us toward a more fully authentic life. For some of us, on the surface, it’s easier to “be who we are” authentically—especially if we identify as straight cis-gender individuals. But for our friends in the trans community, taking the step to become who they really are has traditionally been fraught with roadblocks. For those who haven’t experienced this wall between us and our true selves, there can be a limited understanding of what a transgender person experiences and what defines them—and surprise—it’s different for each and every one. So this week, we’ve got one person’s story that might give us some insight into others we may know who are running into that wall that keeps them from truly knowing the joy of stepping fully into themselves. Stephanie Byers grew up in a time where there weren’t even words in our vernacular that she could cling to that could give her some sort of path to figure out her true identity.  As the world evolved and other brave souls like Stephanie began to emerge, the community finally had a name—transgender. Stephanie walks us through the stages of her discovery of herself and how she finally decided to fully enter into her true self at the age of 51 and the response from her family and community. She also leads us through the  journey that led her to become a force for change for equal rights for all different kinds of people by becoming Kansas’ first openly-trans state representative. Jen and Stephanie concur that it can be difficult to see from the perspective of a person whose very make-up is so different from our own, and that we may struggle to understand them fully, but it should never be a struggle to be kind in that process.