Friends, colleagues remember LGBT advocate as hero, champion

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A well-known advocate for LGBT rights in Kansas has passed away.

Friends and colleagues confirm Stephanie Mott, 61, died unexpectedly Monday. She suffered a medical emergency the night before.

Pastor Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan with Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka, said it's believed Mott suffered a heart attack.

"She was a deeply committed activist and community builder who believed we all deserve unconditional positive regard," Oglesby-Dunegan told 13 NEWS. "....she worked to build a network that was deep and broad to support the changes she fought for... She has left a lasting legacy for all of us that calls us to service, activism and loving relationships."

Mott worked as a mental health clinician at Valeo in Topeka. She also led the Kansas Democratic Party's LGBT caucus. Just Sunday, Mott posted on social media about the group's expanding membership, and plans to make presentations.

"Invite us in, promote us, helping us bring an end to discrimination against LGBTQ+ people of Kansas," she posted on the Caucus page.

Kansas Democratic Party chairperson Vicki Hiatt thanked Mott for her determination to make a better world.

"Courageous in the face of cowardice and selflessly dedicated to advocacy for LGBTQ Kansans, Stephanie was a champion for the most vulnerable among us," Hiatt said.

Friends posting on Mott's Facebook page call her a "hero" and an "inspiration."

"Stephanie was a person of great heart and soul," Aimee Copp-Hasty, who worked with Mott at Valeo, told 13 NEWS. "She was a mover and shaker; an outspoken advocate for transgender and LGBTQ rights; and one of the most humble people you’d ever meet. She believed in equality for all people, (and) was an amazing writer and story teller."

Mott also was involved with the group Equality Kansas, which tweeted, "We cannot find adequate words to express our grief at her passing, but we will find solace in the knowledge that her life and her work will make Kansas a better place for future generations."

Mott, who was a transgender woman, often was involved in events to help people who were transgender feel they were safe and supported. Among those was OKamp, a gathering for young people to find support.

In 2017, she filed a lawsuit against the state of Kansas, in hopes she'd be allowed to obtain a new birth certificate that lists her gender as female.