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The number of Kansas residents officially changing genders quadrupled this year ahead of a new law

by Madison Thomas
5 comments
transgender rights

The number of individuals in Kansas officially changing their genders has quadrupled this year in anticipation of a new law. The law, set to take effect on Saturday, prohibits residents from identifying themselves differently than the sex assigned to them at birth on their birth certificates and driver’s licenses.

This legislation is part of a series of measures passed by lawmakers in various states across the U.S. aimed at limiting transgender rights. It includes provisions that restrict transgender individuals’ access to restrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities, as well as their ability to change their gender identity on state documents.

The impact of the new Kansas law on the daily lives of transgender people remains uncertain, as it conflicts with a 2019 federal court order that directed the state to allow gender changes on birth certificates. Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, who vetoed the law but was overridden by the Republican-controlled Legislature, has not yet indicated whether state agencies will continue to allow changes. The state’s attorney general, Kris Kobach, believes the law supersedes the judge’s order and has requested the order to be rescinded.

Kobach also stated that any changes made by transgender individuals to their official documents will need to be undone in accordance with the law. If necessary, he expressed willingness to sue Governor Kelly to ensure compliance.

Given the legal uncertainty, transgender advocacy groups and Kansas Legal Services, a nonprofit legal aid organization, have conducted seminars to assist transgender individuals in navigating the process of changing their documents. Both birth certificates and driver’s licenses in Kansas include a “sex” designation, which the new law defines as a person’s “biological reproductive system” at birth.

Data from the state health department reveals a significant increase in gender changes on birth certificates this year, with an average of 58 changes per month compared to an average of 13 from July 2019 to 2022. Similarly, the state motor vehicle department reported that 161 individuals have changed their gender identity on their driver’s licenses so far this year, compared to an average of 5.5 per month from July 2019 to 2022. The majority of these changes occurred in May and June, following the override of Governor Kelly’s veto.

Some changes to birth certificates were made by healthcare providers who initially recorded the wrong sex assigned at birth. Others were for individuals born with intersex conditions, where the sex was not initially assigned but was chosen by their parents later on.

Jenna Bellemere, a transgender student at the University of Kansas, shared her experience of changing her birth certificate and driver’s license last year, motivated by the increasing anti-trans sentiment. Bellemere expressed the desire not to carry inaccurate documents throughout her life or possess identification that no longer reflects her current name.

Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about transgender rights

What is the new law in Kansas regarding gender changes on birth certificates and driver’s licenses?

The new law in Kansas prevents residents from identifying themselves differently than the sex assigned to them at birth on their birth certificates and driver’s licenses. It is part of a series of measures passed to roll back transgender rights.

When does the new law in Kansas take effect?

The new law in Kansas is set to take effect on Saturday, although there is still uncertainty about its implementation and its conflict with a 2019 federal court order.

Will transgender individuals still be able to change their gender on official documents in Kansas?

The impact of the new law on transgender individuals’ ability to change their gender on official documents is uncertain. Governor Laura Kelly, who vetoed the law, has not yet stated whether state agencies will continue to allow changes, while the Attorney General believes the law supersedes the court order.

How has the number of gender changes in Kansas changed this year?

According to state health department figures, the number of gender changes on birth certificates has quadrupled this year, with an average of 58 changes per month compared to an average of 13 from July 2019 to 2022. Similarly, the number of gender changes on driver’s licenses has increased significantly.

Are there any exceptions to the gender changes on birth certificates?

Some changes to birth certificates have been made for individuals with intersex conditions or due to healthcare providers initially recording the wrong sex assigned at birth.

What actions have advocacy groups taken to assist transgender individuals in Kansas?

Advocacy groups and Kansas Legal Services have organized seminars to provide guidance and support to transgender individuals navigating the process of changing their gender on official documents in light of the new law.

Will legal action be taken if the governor does not comply with the law?

The Attorney General has indicated a willingness to sue Governor Laura Kelly if she does not comply with the law, asserting her legal and constitutional obligation to do so.

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5 comments

WordWizard22 June 29, 2023 - 2:02 am

so, there’s dis new law in Kansas stoppin’ peeps from changin’ their gender on official docs. it’s like takin’ away their identities, man! hope the legal battles sort it all out and protect LGBTQ+ rights.

Reply
Bookworm99 June 29, 2023 - 6:48 am

It’s interestin’ 2 c how da number of gender changes in Kansas has skyrocketed dis year. people fightin’ 4 their right to be recognized for who they are. it’s a sign of resilience and strength. keep fightin’!

Reply
GptFan123 June 29, 2023 - 12:27 pm

wow, dis new law in Kansas sound pretty cray-cray! it’s sad 2 c transgender rights bein’ rolled back like dat. i hope da governor finds a way 2 protect those rights. #StandWithTrans

Reply
InfoSeeker55 June 29, 2023 - 6:33 pm

I wonder how dis law will affect transgender folks in their daily lives. Sounds like there’s a lot of uncertainty goin’ on. Hopefully, da seminars and advocacy groups can help ’em navigate through these changes. Stay strong, Kansas trans community!

Reply
SocJusticeWarrior June 29, 2023 - 6:58 pm

Seriously, what’s up with all these laws tryin’ to limit transgender rights? It’s not cool, Kansas! Let people be who they are and respect their identities. We need more acceptance, not more restrictions!

Reply

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