A bill has been passed in Kansas that convicts must use the bathroom corresponding to the sex they were born with, be it male or female.
It also included a ban on transgender people changing the name or gender on their driver’s licences. The bill passed the legislature Tuesday.
The Kansas Senate voted 28-12 with one vote more than the two-thirds majority needed to override any veto, giving final passage to an earlier version passed by the House and sent to Governor Laura Kelly. Both chambers have overwhelming Republican majorities.
The measure deals with bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities, and defines ‘gender’ as ‘male or female, at birth’, a move LGBTQ+ rights advocates said would legally erase transgender people and deny recognition to non-binary fluids. . and gender non-conforming people.
The Kansas measures are among several hundred aimed at curtailing LGBT rights that Republicans have pursued this year across the United States.
The wave of legislation has angered and upset LGBT rights activists and parents of transgender children. The law came on the same day that the Florida Senate passed a ban on sex reassignment surgery for minors.
Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly will not be able to veto the state’s new bathroom bill
Ian Benalcazar, far right, a 13-year-old transgender boy from Lawrence, Kansas, speaks outside the Kansas State House during a Transgender Day of Vision rally
More than 100 people, many of them young transgender people, march around the Kansas state house in protest of the new rules.
“I’m what they’re afraid of,” said Ian Benalcazar, a 13-year-old transgender boy in Northeast Kansas during a recent LGBT rights rally outside the statehouse. I am human and I deserve to be treated as such, and I deserve to be happy.
The Kansas measure covers prisons, prisons, rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and other settings “where biology, safety, or privacy” urge separate facilities for men and women.
The bill determines the male and female based on the person’s physical anatomy at birth.
The action now going to Kelly would declare that, in legal terms, “sex” meant “biological” sex, “whether male or female, at birth.”
He adds that “important government goals to protect health, safety and privacy” justify separate spaces for men and women such as bathrooms and locker rooms.
“This will protect the spaces currently reserved for women and men,” said Brenda Landwer, chair of the House Health Committee, who is a R-Witchita and voted for the bill.
Supporters framed their measures as a proposed document of women’s rights, similar to measures that had been introduced in Congress and at least five other states. It was based on the language of many anti-trans nationalist groups.
Senate Speaker Ty Masterson, a Wichita-area Republican, said lawmakers are trying to protect families amid what people see as a small but growing number of cases of transgender girls or women using facilities with girls or transgender women.
“People are starting to take notice,” Masterson said.
LGBTQ+ activists celebrate the first ever Pride Day parade in Kansas, June 2021
Members of the Kansas House included provisions requiring accommodations for certain intersex persons born with chromosomes, genitalia, or genitalia not associated with typical definitions of male or female.
Last month, Kelly contested a proposed ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports this year for the third year in a row.
Supporters of the bill said it was necessary to ensure equal opportunities in women’s sports. LGBT opponents and advocates say the laws are unnecessary, given the small number of transgender athletes in school sports.
Republican lawmakers in Kansas are also seeking a bill aimed at stopping gender-affirming sponsorships for minors, which at least 11 states have done.
The governor promised LGBT lawmakers last week that she will “protect your rights” and “veto any bill intended to harm or discriminate against you.”
Carson Rapp, a 15-year-old in the Wichita, Kansas, area who identifies as more attractive or adopts “more traits both masculine and feminine,” said expressing one’s gender identity is not detrimental to others.
“Why would we stop people from doing this if they are just themselves and having fun and expressing themselves?” Carson said during the LGBTQ Youth Lobby Day.
LGBTQ advocates say having a driver’s license or birth certificate confirms a transgender person’s identity is important in itself but also can prevent everyday hassles or harassment.
The bill’s language would prevent transgender people from changing driver’s licenses and birth certificates, but Kansas is subject to a 2019 federal court order to allow birth certificate changes.
Carson’s father, Will Rabe, managing director of Kansas GLSEN, a group that advocates for LGBTQ youth, said it was disheartening to see what he called “so egregious” legislation.
“I would like to think that if they get to know these young people, it will change their hearts, and we will always have hope for that,” he said.
Transgender rights have been pushed to the forefront of the American culture wars and political confrontation between Republicans and Democrats. At least 18 states have passed or enacted legislation banning transgender students from playing on school sports teams that match their gender identity.