Transgender Kansans consider whether to change gender markers on IDs before new law takes effect

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 8:16 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (KCTV) - Kansans who identify as trans are preparing for a new law that takes effect in July, which could make it difficult to change gender markers on birth certificates and identification cards.

The Kansas legislature overrode Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of the bill in April. The measure deals with bathrooms, locker rooms and other facilities. It also defines “sex” as “either male or female, at birth,” a move LGBTQ+ rights advocates said would legally erase transgender people and deny recognition to non-binary, gender fluid and gender non-conforming people.

Aiden Campbell, a trans man, remembered being shocked by the vote.

“This is something that should be a personal decision,” he said. “It’s something the government has taken into its hands.”

Campbell said the action also placed him in a dilemma. He had just started his transition this year and felt that the implementation of the law on July 1 prompted a decision he was not prepared to make.

“These bills have accelerated my process with getting top surgery,” he explained. “But the gender markers, that’s something I wasn’t emotionally ready for.”

Several advocacy groups have offered resources for people who wish to change their markers before July. The Kansas Name Change Project has been holding a series of clinics and meetings to walk people through the process.

Lawrence Pride is planning on holding an information session as part of this weekend’s series of events for Pride month.

Courtney Farr, Lawrence Pride’s Chair of Community Engagement, said there has been a lot of fear among trans people since the passage of the law.

“One thing no one knows right now is what will happen when the deadline hits,” Farr said. “Will there continue to be IDs processed when the deadline hits? None of us know.”

Campbell said that being able to match the name on his ID to his gender would help minimize harassment and discomfort when presenting a driver’s license at a bar, doctor’s office, or other places where it’s necessary to do so.

Even so, he said he has decided to wait until he is fully ready to make the change, even if that means waiting for the law.

“I’m not trying to intrude on anyone’s life,” he said. “If you’re uncomfortable with that, look away.”