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Kansas Will Not Change Gender on Birth Certificates

While previously altered birth certificates are still valid, a certified copy would list an individual's sex at birth

Kansas Will Not Change Gender on Birth Certificates

Kansas has discontinued the practice of changing gender markers on birth certificates to reflect gender identity. 

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said not altering birth certificates to reflect an individual’s gender identity is in line with state law.

“In accordance with Senate Bill (SB) 180, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) can no longer process gender identity amendments to birth certificates,” the KDHE wrote in a message on its website. “If KDHE previously changed your birth certificate to align with your gender identity, that birth certificate is still valid; however, if a certified copy of that record is requested, then the new copy must reflect the sex assigned at birth, in accordance with SB 180.”

In May, the state legislature passed SB 180 which legally defined male and female as an individual’s sex at birth based on reproductive capabilities. The law, known as the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” took effect on July 1.

Under the policy, “public facilities and agencies serving specifically men or women will be required to limit those services based on sex assigned at birth,” reports The Kansas City Star. “If an agency serves someone or allows them to use a space that aligns with their gender identity but conflicts with their sex assigned at birth, that facility or agency would be in violation of this new law.”

Gender marker regulations have fluctuated with changes in Kansas's government leadership.

In June, Attorney General Kris Kobach asked a federal court to terminate a requirement for Kansas to allow for gender marker alteration for people who identify as transgender. The requirement was enacted as part of a settlement for a 2018 lawsuit.

The settlement blocked a previous order from then-Governor Sam Brownback, a Republican, imposing stern restrictions on when birth certificate changes could be made. 

Current Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat known for her pro-LGBTQ positions, announced in June of 2019 that the KDHE would permit transgender-identifying people to change the sex designation on their birth certificate.

“It was time for Kansas to move past its outdated and discriminatory anti-transgender policy,” Kelly said in a statement. “This decision acknowledges that transgender people have the same rights as anyone else, including the right to easily obtain a birth certificate that reflects who they are.”

People who identify as transgender were already unable to alter the gender marker on their driver’s licenses.

Kobach celebrated the KDHE’s decision to not alter birth certificates to reflect gender identity.

The intent of [Kansas Legislature] was clear when lawmakers passed the Women’s Bill of Rights. KS birth certificates are state records that must reflect scientific fact as recorded by the doctor at the time of birth,” he wrote in a post on X on Sept. 15.

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