Kansas’ new anti-trans bill is so extreme some cis women could be banned from toilets

Activist holds up placard that reads 'Trans Rights Now'

Kansas has passed what has been described as the “broadest” anti-trans bathroom bill in the United States, the confines of which could see some cis women barred from female toilets. 

Lawmakers in the state overturned a previous veto by governor Laura Kelly, who has continually spoken out against anti-trans legislation

SB 180, entitled the Women’s Bill of Rights, bans trans and intersex women from toilets, changing rooms and prison facilities that align with their gender, as well as barring trans women from accessing domestic abuse shelters and rape crisis centres.   

The legislation has been criticised as legally erasing trans people by stating an “individual’s “sex” means an individual’s sex at birth, either male or female”. 

Definitions outlined in the bill also state a female is a person who produces “ova” – in other words, eggs – meaning cis women who are infertile and are unable to produce eggs could barred from spaces under the legislation’s legal terms. 

The bill was passed by 84 votes to 40 in the House and subsequently 28-12 in the Senate. 

You may like to watch

The new law is expected to take effect on 1 July. 

Republican’s quizzed over genital inspections

Republican representative Brenda Landwehr, who carried the bill in the House, said: “What’s the rights of a woman?

“For 50 years, women have fought for rights, for the right to vote, for the right to drive, and now we’re being told today that women’s rights don’t matter.

“Little girls should not have to be exposed to a man in the female bathroom.”

Blasting the administration of the bill, Democrat Heather Meyer quizzed Republican lawmakers: “Are you all going to check the genitals of every trans child who walks into the restroom, or maybe just children in general, so you can figure out who’s a male and who’s a female biologically?”

Taking to Twitter, governor Kelly said she was “disappointed” lawmakers want to force “extremist” legislation through.

“I promised Kansans I’d govern from the middle of the road and that I’d serve as a check on legislation that is too extreme one way or the other,” she said in a thread of tweets.

“I’m disappointed some legislators are eager to force through extremist legislation that will hurt our economy and tarnish our reputation as the Free State. I strive every day to make Kansas a place where more people want to work and raise a family.

“The bills passed yesterday and today will reverse much of the progress we’ve made in recent years.

“I thank those who have stood with me in keeping Kansas moving forward, in protecting our public schools, and in looking out for everyday working Kansans.”

“Am I going to get harassed for that?”

Speaking with the Associated Press, 20-year-old transgender University of Kansas student Jenna Bellemere aired her concerns about the bill. 

She said: “When I go out in public, like I’m at a restaurant or up on campus or whatever, and I need to go to the bathroom, there’s definitely going to be a voice in my head that says, ‘“Am I going to get harassed for that?’” 

“It just makes it so much more complicated and risky and unnecessarily difficult.”

Another trans University of Kansas, 19-year-old Adam Kellogg, also told AP the law will impact cis women as much as trans women. 

“Tomboys, people who just aren’t really that into femininity as a woman, they can’t freely express themselves without being worried that they’re going to be called out and removed from the spaces that they rightfully belong in,” Kellogg said. 

Opposing the law, Micah Kubic, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, said the bill’s “lack of clarity is by design”. 

“It allows them to disclaim the worst possible interpretation while also allowing for the worst possible outcome to happen,” the executive said. 

The passage of the bill in Kansas is part of a nationwide attack on trans rights which has swept across every state in America. 

So far in 2023 alone, more than 500 anti-trans bills have been tabled which seek to exclude trans people from public life, using facilities which align with their gender, taking part in sports and accessing gender affirming healthcare.

Please login or register to comment on this story.