An LGBT rights group has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the state of Kansas for sticking to policy that makes it impossible to change the gender listed on the birth certificate of trans people who now identify as a different sex.
The organization, Lambda Legal, is requesting that the court declare Kansas’ birth certificate “unconstitutional.” The suit claims that Kansas, Ohio and Tennessee are the only three states that refuse to allow the amending of birth certificates to match up with a transgender person’s gender identity.
Despite not allowing the altering of birth certificates, Kansas reportedly does allow the changing of genders status that appears on personal identification documents, such as driver’s licenses.
According to the Kansas City Star, lawyers for the group are convinced that the state’s policy violates the 14th Amendment’s promise of equal protection and due process that should be granted to transgender individuals.
“Let me be clear. A transgender woman is a woman. A transgender man is a man — period,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney for Lambda Legal, said.
But the city insisted that the law prohibits the altering of biological gender, despite noting that “minor corrections” can be made.
“The Kansas Department of Health and Environment does not have the authority to change an individual’s birth certificate, with the exception of minor corrections or by court order,” explained Theresa Freed, deputy secretary of public affairs for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “Gender identity would not be considered a minor correction.”
One of the complainants in the case argued that the current rules mean that the state is “forcing them to lie.”
“It is forcing me to carry inconsistent documentation that exposes me to intimidation, prejudice, rejection, humiliation and ultimately violence,” plaintiff Nyla Foster said.
“Put simply, all people need access to a birth certificate that accurately reflects their identity,” the lawsuit declares. “However, transgender people born in Kansas, unlike cisgender people born in Kansas, do not have access to accurate birth certificates.”
Gonzalez-Pagan noted that an accurate birth certificate is a “quintessential identity document that follows a person from birth until death” and which “allows a person to navigate through life.”
Lambda Legal cited a 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, which they said noted that “almost one-third” of transgender people who presented a birth certificate that was in contradiction to their perceived gender identity were “harassed, denied benefits or services, discriminated against or assaulted.”
(H/T: Kansas City Star)