The number of Kansas residents changing their gender jumped 300% before a new law began

Jun 28, 2023, 12:44 PM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The number of people officially changing their gender in Kansas jumped more than 300% this year ahead of a new state law that legally erases their ability to identify with a gender other than the sex assigned to them at birth.

The legislation is part of a raft of measures lawmakers across the U.S. have passed to roll back transgender rights. It has provisions meant to restrict transgender people’s use of restrooms, locker rooms and other facilities and applies to a person’s identity listed on state documents such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses.

The Kansas law takes effect Saturday, but it’s not yet clear how it will play out in the daily lives of transgender people. The new legislation conflicts with a 2019 federal court order directing the state to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates.

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, to formally rescind the order.

The attorney general even indicated that the flurry of last-minute changes by transgender people has been for naught: He says the law requires the state to undo any changes that have been made to official documents.

With the legal climate uncertain, the nonprofit legal aid group Kansas Legal Services and LGBTQ+ rights advocates have run seminars for transgender people on how to change their documents. Both birth certificates and driver’s licenses list “sex,” which the new state law defines as a person’s “biological reproductive system” at birth.

“There was a big push … to try and help people get their gender marker changed before July 1,” said Taryn Jones, vice chair and lobbyist for the LGBTQ+ rights group Equality Kansas.

An average of 58 Kansas residents a month have changed their birth certificates so far this year, or 334% more than the average of 13 a month from July 2019 through 2022, according to state health department figures released this week. Since July 2019, more than 900 people have changed their birth certificates, but almost 350 of those, or 38%, did it this year as the Republican-controlled Legislature debated and then passed the new law.

The state motor vehicle department reported this week that 161 people have changed their gender identity on their driver’s licenses so far this year, an average of 27 a month. That’s an increase of 384% over the average of 5 1/2 per month from July 2019 through 2022. Almost 400 people have changed their driver’s licenses since July 2019.

According to the state’s data, 126, or 78% of the changes in gender on driver’s licenses came in May and June, after lawmakers overrode Kelly’s veto.

Some birth certificates have been changed by health care providers who incorrectly recorded the sex assigned a baby at birth. Others were for babies born with intersex conditions, such as ambiguous genitals, who were not initially assigned a sex at birth but had their parents later choose one for them.

Jenna Bellemere, a transgender University of Kansas student, said she changed her birth certificate and driver’s license last year, believing “this anti-trans stuff” was building.

“I didn’t really want to go throughout my life carrying around a document that really was inaccurate and an ID with a name that no one calls me anymore,” she said.


Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

United States News

FILE - A hiring sign is displayed at a grocery store, Oct. 5, 2023, in Deerfield, Ill. Most busines...

Associated Press

Economists predict US inflation will keep cooling and the economy can avoid a recession

Most business economists think the U.S. economy could avoid a recession next year, even if the job market ends up weakening under the weight of high interest rates, according to a survey released Monday.

14 minutes ago

Associated Press

Photographs capture humpback whale’s Seattle visit, breaching in waters in front of Space Needle

Seattle (AP) — Pictures released by a conservation group show a young humpback whale breaching in front of the Space Needle as it visited the waters off Seattle last week, capturing a rare display of wildlife next to a major city. The photos were also used to gauge the general health of the whale and […]

32 minutes ago

FILE - President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, leaves after a court appearance, July 26, 2023, in ...

Associated Press

Prosecutors push back against Hunter Biden’s move to subpoena Trump documents in gun case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors pushed back Monday against Hunter Biden’s move to subpoena documents from Donald Trump and former Justice Department officials in the firearms case filed against the president’s son. They argued that Hunter Biden doesn’t have enough evidence to support his claims of potential political interference in the criminal investigation against him and […]

1 hour ago

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Associated Press

Treasury creates new strike force as US and China pursue crackdown on illicit fentanyl trafficking

The Treasury Department on Monday announced a new strike force to help combat illicit fentanyl trafficking as the U.S. and China step up stop efforts.

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Arkansas rules online news personality Cenk Uygur won’t qualify for Democratic presidential primary

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas election officials on Monday said online news personality Cenk Uygur, who was born in Turkey, can’t appear on the state’s Democratic presidential primary ballot next year. The determination comes weeks after Uygur proclaimed that he had become the first naturalized citizen on a presidential ballot after filing paperwork with […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Reported cancellation of Virginia menorah lighting draws rebuke from governor

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia political leaders, including Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, on Monday condemned the reported cancellation of a menorah lighting at a community event in Williamsburg over apparent concerns related to the Israel-Hamas war. The criticism from Youngkin and members of the General Assembly from both parties came after the Virginia Gazette reported […]

2 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Desert Institute for Spine Care

Desert Institute for Spine Care (DISC) wants to help Valley residents address back, neck issues through awake spine surgery

As the weather begins to change, those with back issues can no longer rely on the dry heat to aid their backs. That's where DISC comes in.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

The number of Kansas residents changing their gender jumped 300% before a new law began