Transgender Kansans to Appeal Court’s Drivers License Ruling Enabling Forced Outing and Harassment

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Esmie Tseng, ACLU of Kansas, [email protected]
Gillian Branstetter, ACLU, [email protected]

TOPEKA, KAN. –  Transgender Kansans represented by the ACLU of Kansas and the ACLU have filed a notice of appeal in Kansas v. Harper, the ongoing litigation over gender marker changes on Kansas driver’s licenses.

The appeal will challenge the court’s ruling earlier this week that granted Attorney General Kris Kobach’s request for a temporary injunction, thereby ensuring that for the duration of the case proceedings, Kansans will still not be able to change their gender markers on their drivers licenses.

“The Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights guarantees all Kansans, including those who are transgender, rights of personal autonomy, privacy, and equality. The Court has mistakenly adopted the Attorney General’s overbroad interpretation of SB180, which provides no language whatsoever requiring the state to force Kansans to carry inaccurate identification cards, against their fundamental rights,” said D.C. Hiegert, LGBTQ+ Legal Fellow for the ACLU of Kansas. “But perhaps most importantly, the Court has decided that the state’s administrative interest outweighs the threat of harassment, discrimination, and violence to individual Kansans. This is clearly dangerous, and it wholly contradicts the tragic reality of current trends.”

“Various courts and legislatures, including those in Kansas, continue to make recent headlines, and these updates also come at a time of great loss and sorrow for many of us in the LGBTQ community,” said Rose Saxe, Deputy Project Director of the ACLU’s Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović LGBTQ & HIV Project. “We know firsthand and have all too many reminders of what is at stake in this broader fight for transgender people’s freedom to be themselves. But we know that amidst this politicized environment of discrimination and hostility, often by state actors, our communities are resilient and powerful. And we will continue to foster hope for an inclusive Kansas that lives up to its reputation as the Free State.”

A 2023 report by the Human Rights Campaign found an epidemic of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people, including thirty-three killings. In 2022, the FBI reported the highest number of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes to date with more than 2,400 incidents, an increase of more than 32% from 2021 to 2022. The FBI found that anti-LGBTQ attacks made up 21% of hate crimes, with 4% of them based on gender identity.

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 About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at