Kansas has become one of the few states in the United States that will no longer allow transgender individuals to change the gender markers on their birth certificates. Here’s the whole story.
Reconsidering Trans Identities
The state’s Department of Health and Environment announced the policy change, citing a new law that restricts the legal recognition of transgender identities.
This decision marks a significant shift from the policies put in place during Democratic Governor Laura Kelly’s administration when she assumed office in 2019.
The reversal comes as a response to legal actions initiated by Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, a conservative Republican, who sought to enforce the new state law.
Gender Based on Sex
This law defines an individual’s gender solely based on the sex assigned at birth and was enacted by the Republican-controlled Legislature, overriding Governor Kelly’s veto.
Governor Kelly expressed her commitment in a statement, saying, “As I’ve said before, the state should not discriminate or encroach into Kansans’ personal lives – it’s wrong, it’s bad for business. However, I am committed to following the law.”
The new Kansas law is rooted in a proposal from national anti-transgender groups and a trend of Republican-controlled state legislatures rolling back Trans rights across the country.
Following Other States´ Restrictions
Montana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee are among the states that also refuse to allow transgender residents to change their birth certificates, and Montana and Tennessee likewise prohibit changes to driver’s licenses.
From 2019 until June 2023, over 900 Kansas residents changed the gender markers on their birth certificates, and nearly 400 modified their driver’s licenses.
Both documents traditionally listed a person’s “sex.”
In June, Attorney General Kobach issued a legal opinion saying that not only does the new law prevent future changes to gender markers on birth certificates, but it also obligates the state to revert to the sex assigned at birth for those who previously made such changes.
The Department of Health and Environment clarified that Trans individuals who had already updated their birth certificates could retain their modified documents. Still, new copies would revert to displaying the sex assigned at birth.
Kobach expressed satisfaction with Governor Kelly’s administration for adhering to the new law, highlighting that the intent of Kansas legislators was evident.
LGBTQ+ rights advocates perceived the law as an attempt to erase Trans people’s identities legally, and they encouraged Trans people to update their driver’s licenses and birth certificates before the law took effect.
“A Win for Nature”
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Adults can do as they please, but children must be protected.”
Another user added, “It’s a win against nonsense. A win against societal destruction. A win for nature. America is becoming a useless place. A society against itself.”
Birth Certificates “Should Never Change”
A third user commented, “This move makes perfect sense, and the one in the health department that approved sex changes to birth certificates needs a different job.”
A fourth user wrote, “Birth certificates are a historical record. They should never change. Amend or reissue if necessary, but the original record must exist. It’s the truth.”
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Stockbakery
Source: NBC News