Kansas May Block Trans People From Updating Birth Certificates

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Sam Brownback, the Republican Kansas governor, is currently pursuing a policy change that would create more bureacratic barriers for transgender people to legally change the gender on their birth certificate.

As the law stands now, anyone in Kansas can change the gender on their birth certificate by "providing a medical certificate substantiating that a physiological or anatomical change occurred or by signing an affidavit saying that the gender was incorrectly recorded," reports The Wichita Eagle.

Brownback proposes to allow a person to change the gender on their birth certificate only if they sign an affidavit saying the gender was wrongly recorded at birth and provide medical records to prove it. This would effectively prevent trans people from making post-transition alterations to their birth certificate.

The proposed new policy was developed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and would require no new legislation to enact.

LGBT rights advocates roundly criticized the proposal. “This has been standing in Kansas for a very long time that transgender people are able to get their birth certificates corrected," Tom Witt, the executive director of Equality Kansas, told the Eagle.

“Now they’re changing the rules because there are transgender people who are still trying to get their birth certificates corrected … and Brownback’s people don’t want that to happen," he added.

If the agency was to allow someone to change their birth cerficate, the state would be required to maintain a copy of the original certificate, along with the new one, which would be marked as "amended." The secretary of state's office would have the power to approve whether an affidavit, along with other evidence, is enough to allow a gender change on the birth certificate.

The proposal comes only a month after Kansas lawmakers proposed a "bathroom bill" that targeted trans students in the state. The bill would allow students to sue their school if they witness a trans schoolmate going into a bathroom that didn't match the gender they were assigned at birth. 

In February, Stephanie Mott, a transgender woman, sued the state after it refused to allow her to change the gender on her birth certificate. The proposed changes to the state's current policy on birth certificate alterations came in January, the same month that Mott 's request was denied. 

A public hearing on the birth certificate proposal is scheduled for 9 a.m. May 12 in the Curtis State Office Building in Topeka.

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