Kansas passes horrific trans bathroom bill that would legally erase trans people

Stock image of an inclusive bathroom sign to illustrate article explaining law in Kansas banning trans people from using the correct bathroom

Lawmakers in Kansas have voted to pass legislation banning trans people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identities, and robing them of legal recognition.

The harsh legislation would define “sex” as “either male or female at birth” in state law, and would prevent public documents including driving licences and birth certificates from being changed to reflect a person’s gender identity.

It would also force trans people to use bathrooms and other single-sex spaces corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth.

Republican representative Brenda Landwehr, who voted for the bill, said this would “protect women’s spaces currently reserved for women and and men’s spaces currently reserved for men”. 

Two Democrats joined Republicans to vote for the bill – Senate Bill 180 –in the Kansas House, meaning it passed by 28 to 12 on Tuesday (4 April).

It is expected to be vetoed by Kansas’ Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, who has previously spoken out against “discriminatory” anti-trans laws.

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However, any veto could be overturned by a two-thirds majority – a threshold already passed in Tuesday’s vote, USA Today reported.

Governor Kelly previously blocked a proposed ban on trans athletes taking part in girls’ and women’s sports in April 2022, claiming the legislation is “harmful” and “divisive”. 

In late March, she joined nearly 200 LGBTQ+ activists as they rallied outside the Kansas Statehouse to urge lawmakers to reject the new bathroom bill. 

“I will continue to stand up for you, protect your rights and call out and condemn any speech or behaviour or veto any bill that aims to harm or discriminate against you,” she said at the rally. 

Kansas’ bill comes as Idaho’s governor has also signed a law that restricts trans students from using the correct bathroom and changing room, with a fine of up to $5,000 for each person of the “opposite sex” found in single-sex facilities. 

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) explained as the bill passed that it will “not accomplish anything other than to further alienate and stigmatise those already on the margins”.

The bill is just one of a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ laws currently making its way through statehouses across America.

HRC claims it has tracked over 460 pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2023, with more than “25 bathroom bills filed”, and multiple bills aiming to ban or limit gender-affirming care for young people

“So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 460 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country,” HRC said.

“More than 190 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.”