TOPEKA, Kan. — A lawsuit filed in Kansas is demanding the state change its policy surrounding transgender birth certificates.
Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit Monday on behalf of four transgender individuals born in Kansas and the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project.
One plaintiff, Nyla Foster, said Kansas is denying her the ability to live authentically as the woman she is.
“The government does not define who I am, nor does it get to disclose to others my transgender status,” Foster said.
Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a senior attorney with Lambda Legal, said his clients’ birth certificates don`t reflect their true sex as determined by their gender identity.
“This is a policy that categorically bars transgender people from having accurate birth certificates,” he said.
They believe the government doesn’t get to define who a person is.
“By denying me a truthful and correct birth certificate, Kansas is forcing me to lie,” Foster said.
Gonzalez-Pagan said 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all recognize transgender people for who they are.
All but three states — Kansas, Tennessee and Ohio — allow transgender people to have birth certificates consistent with their gender identity. So does the federal government, which let transgender people have U.S. passports consistent with their gender identity.
“It can determine access to education, employment, health care, banking, travel, obtaining other identity documents and even voting,” Gonzalez-Pagan said. “Kansas’ birth certificate policy exposes transgender people to discrimination, harassment and violence.”
Transgender people living in states like Kansas said they have inconsistent documentation because their ID and other documents, like Social Security and medical documentation, reflect their true gender identity.
Kansas does allow transgender people to change their driver’s licenses and state ID cards. It does require a court order or a medical declaration.