StoryCorps' MobileBooth came to Kansas City to collect the stories and memories of residents. This is one in a series of stories KCUR has chosen to highlight.
Samantha Ruggles came out as a transgender woman long after her grandparents and parents had passed away.
"If they were still alive, how would that conversation have gone? Your coming out?" her friend Darin Challacombe asked.
"I think about that and have thought about that a lot, not just my parents, but my grandparents," Ruggles said. "I believe in my heart, my soul, my mind that my parents would've been just fine with me."
She remembered a day about two years ago, after she came out as a transgender woman, when she revisited the family farm outside of El Dorado, Kansas. She walked the family cemetary and introduced herself to her relatives.
"I came to my grandmother's grave and I told her. These words resonated in my mind: 'Samantha, God does not make mistakes. You are not a mistake.'" Ruggles said.
Another turning point came after the 2016 election. Ruggles saw that Donald Trump had been elected president the morning after Election Day and was stunned.
"I kicked, I screamed, I cried," Ruggles said. "I finally got to the point where I needed to turn off all media, unplugged everything, and sat in quiet contemplation for probably an hour.
"I jumped out of bed and said, 'Game on.' It's time to go to work, time to put those boots on and get out there."
Matthew Long-Middleton is a community producer for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter @MLMIndustries.
Cody Newill is an audience development specialist for KCUR 89.3. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill.