Transgender Kansans Sue the State to Fix Their Birth Certificates

Their birth certificates don’t accurately represent their gender identity, and they’re looking to make that right.

Currently, Kansas does not permit transgender citizens to fix their driver’s licenses and state identification cards, according to LGBTQ Nation. Lambda Legal is filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of four transgender people who aren’t allowed to update their birth certificates. There are two trans men and two trans women on the suit.

“By not allowing transgender people like me to correct our birth certificates, the state complicates every aspect of our lives,” said plaintiff Luc Bensimon. He expressed that having “female” on his birth certificate made it easier for people to know he is trans and, therefore, discriminate against him.

The complaint states: “Put simply, all people need access to a birth certificate that accurately reflects their identity. However, transgender people born in Kansas, unlike cisgender people born in Kansas, do not have access to accurate birth certificates.”

As an example of discrimination created by the failure to correct the birth certificates, “[plaintiff Nyla] Foster has been required to present her birth certificate during job application processes. Because her birth certificate inaccurately states that she is male, providing this document has led directly to Ms. Foster being ‘outed’ as transgender, and subsequently treated suspiciously and disrespectfully by prospective employers.”

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of Lambda Legal believes the current policy is “archaic and discriminatory” and shows that Kansas needs to catch up with “the rest of America.”

“Forty-seven states, DC, and Puerto Rico acknowledge the importance of individuals having access to essential government identity documents that accurately reflect their sex, consistent with their gender identity. It is about time Kansas joins them,” he said.

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