On Tuesday, February 23, the Kansas Senate Education Committee will be hearing a bill that will ban participation in school activities by transgender youth. Introduced by state senator Renee Erickson, formerly a principal in Wichita Public Schools, the bill is part of a wave of anti-trans legislation being introduced across the United States.
This year’s bill, SB 208, is ironically misnamed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” would require Kansas public schools, including taxpayer-supported Kansas colleges and universities, to limit participation on teams based on “reproductive anatomy, genetic makeup, or normal endogenously produced testosterone levels.” A student’s actual gender identity will not be considered – in other words, transgender boys and college-age men will be forced to play on women’s teams, and transgender girls and college-age women will be forced to play on men’s teams.
SB 208 is the latest in a series of ten bills and resolutions introduced in the Kansas legislature since 2015. Four previous bills would have placed “bounties” of at least $2500 on trans or gender non-conforming children caught using a school restroom. Last year, a bill similar to SB 208 was introduced by former state representative Michael Capps, a “conservative” with a history of inappropriate physical contact with children. So far this year, four anti-trans bills have been introduced in the legislature: SB 208, an identical measure in the Kansas House of Representatives, and a pair of bills that would make it a felony to provide gender-affirming health care to minors.
Since extremists failed to block nation-wide recognition of same-sex marriage, they have changed their targets. Nearly every anti-LGBT piece of legislation that has been introduced since the landmark “Obergefell” ruling has targeted children in one way or another, and has especially targeted transgender youth. It’s time to make your voices heard! Contact the members of the Senate Education Committee. Or, if you would like to submit written testimony to the Committee for entry into the official record, please contact Thomas Witt, Equality Kansas executive director, or Liz Hamor, Equality Kansas director of community outreach. The deadline for official written testimony is noon on Monday, February 22.
When writing or calling state senators, please be polite! The statehouse staff are all non-partisan, temporary employees who work very hard to help you and your fellow Kansans communicate with your government.
What: Hearing on SB 208
Where: Kansas Statehouse, Room 144-S
When: Tuesday, February 23, 1:30pm to 2:30pm
Watch on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_0NO-Pb96CFABvxDwXAq8A
Listen in on the Kansas Legislature’s website: http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00287/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/RoomRouter?location=144-S&viewMode=1#handoutFile_