The Latest on Trans ID Rights
In the last few weeks, there has been a lot of news about trans Kansans’ rights, SB 180, driver’s licenses, and birth certificates in Kansas. It’s hard to keep track of the lawsuits and policy changes and media coverage — so, we’re here to break down where things stand for trans Kansans and gender markers in September 2023.
After SB 180 passed, the Attorney General sued the Kansas Department of Revenue—who oversees issuing and maintaining driver’s licenses in Kansas—because the attorney general believes SB 180 bans KDOR from updating the gender markers of trans folks in the state. The ACLU of Kansas and partners successfully intervened on behalf of five transgender Kansans who are either seeking to maintain the accurate gender marker they currently have on their license or are seeking to amend their current marker.
However, prior to our intervention, the judge in that case, Kansas v. Harper, granted the attorney's requested temporary restraining order (TRO), forcing KDOR to stop updating gender markers until the court rules on the arguments in the lawsuit. The TRO is in place until after the hearing on January 10-11.
Here’s what this means for you: If you’re trans and want to get an updated gender marker on your license, or if you already have an updated marker but your license expires, you will not be able to get a new license with an updated gender marker while the TRO is in place until the January hearing.
After SB 180 passed, the Attorney General filed a motion in federal district court seeking to relieve the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from its court-ordered duty from 2019 to provide trans Kansans with amended birth certificated reflected their true gender. The Judge in that case, Foster v. Andersen, granted the AG’s motion. In response, the KDHE announced a policy change stating it will no longer be allowing trans Kansans to amend the gender marker on their birth certificates.
Here’s what this means for you: If you’re trans and haven’t been able to amend your birth certificate, you will no longer be able to do so while this policy is in place.
If you are trans and have already amended your Kansas birth certificate, that certificate is still valid. However, if you apply for a new copy of your amended certificate or a certified copy, or if you amend it for any reason in the future (like updating a name) — KDHE will revert your gender marker back to the original, incorrect marker.
What can trans Kansans do in the meantime?
While these laws and policies are litigated in court, which can take a lot of time, we know trans Kansans need an avenue to access accurate and affirming identity documents.
One option for trans Kansans is to apply for a federal passport—which allows for an F, M, or X gender marker and does not require a state identity document or medical letter to verify your gender. You can go to www.travel.state.gov to learn more about how to apply for a federal passport or how to amend your gender marker on your existing passport.