Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Proposed Rule Change Slammed as Harming Transgender Youth: 'These Regulations Will Be Written in Their Blood'

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Proposed Rule Change Slammed as Harming Transgender Youth: 'These Regulations Will Be Written in Their Blood'

Article excerpt

A Topeka transgender activist and her attorney decried a proposed change Thursday that would bar individuals from altering the gender on their Kansas birth certificates, saying the new regulation would be written in the blood of transgender teens.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is seeking a regulation that would require the gender on birth certificates to match the gender of the individual at birth. In the past, Kansas has allowed individuals to change the gender on the document.

If the regulation goes into effect, Kansas will join only a handful of states that don't allow people to change the gender on their birth certificates. The regulation likely would prompt legal action by opponents.

The change would mean transgender people couldn't change their birth certificate to match their current gender identity, even if they have identified as that gender for years.

Stephanie Mott, a local activist and transgender woman, argued during a public comment hearing Thursday the change would result in increased suicide among transgender teens. Affirming the identity of youth, by contrast, drives down rates of suicide, she said.

"If these regulations increase the likelihood that transgender youth will attempt suicide, and they do, why in God's green earth would we do such a thing? Children will die, these regulations will be written in their blood," Mott said.

Mott filed a lawsuit against KDHE in February after the agency denied her request to change her birth certificate gender to female. Documents indicate the agency began pursuing the policy change in January and February of this year.

The proposed regulation comes at a time of increased attention nationwide over policies affecting transgender people. A North Carolina law barring transgender people from using the restroom of the gender they identify with has sparked a lengthy and ongoing backlash.

Legislation filed in Kansas this year to direct individuals to use the restrooms and locker rooms at colleges and schools that match their chromosomes generated pushback but didn't advance through the Legislature. …

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