Tag Archives: kansas

VICTORY! Kansas Will Now Change Birth Certificates with Minimal Effort!

In a huge victory for transgender, intersex, non-binary, gender-fluid, queer, and many other persons in Kansas, the state under Governor Laura Kelly has agreed to immediately allow gender marker changes on birth certificates! To make the change, you need to submit a sworn statement that you intend to make the change, and provide either a passport, driver’s license, or medical note from a physician. From our reading of the consent agreement, no one should even need to pay to hire an attorney to do any of this – it should be a very straightforward process requiring just a notary for assistance (often available for free at your bank).

This victory is the result of the tireless advocacy and work of Lambda Legal and the firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, but very importantly due to the brave plaintiffs Nyla Foster, Luc Bensimon, Jessica Hicklin and a client identified by his initials, C.K. There was also an organizational plaintiff, the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, Inc. (K-STEP), which was founded by the late and dearly missed Stephanie Mott, who sadly died this March before seeing this victory.

The announcement on Lambda Legal can be found here, and the consent agreement can be viewed directly at this permanent link: Kansas Birth Certificate Consent Agreement.

Time to celebrate!

June 2018 Trans Talk on KKFI

We have two special guests with us today. First we will be talking with a guest who has visited with us before, Professor Larry Altman, who will discuss the current status of several legal issues impacting the LGBTQIA community in Kansas and Missouri. Then at the bottom of the hour we will be discussing issues of spirituality with the Reverend Seth Sonneville, a hospital chaplain who has worked with the transgender community for some time.

We will have a new take on the transgender news of the month, and finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, June 23rd at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org, or via various apps on your phone.

BREAKING: Williams Institute Doubles Previous Estimate on Transgender Population

TransCrowdIn very important news for the transgender community, the Williams Institute has published a new report which has increased the estimate of the number of transgender persons in the United States – from the prior 700-800,000 to 1.4 million. That’s an increase from 0.3 to 0.6 percent, or a doubling of our estimated numbers.

The report is based on new data from the Centers for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), and it provides estimates on both a national and a state-by-state basis. The entire report can be found here, and it is chock-full of statistics, including breakdowns by age grouping and 95 percent confidence intervals. There are a couple of interesting demographic maps as well, showing that transgender persons appear to be concentrated, of all places, in the southern half of the United States, as well as the west coast.

Let me share some of the high-level results here:

  • Kansas is estimated to have 9,300 transgender persons, or 0.43 percent of the state.
  • Missouri is estimated to have 25,050 transgender persons, or 0.54 percent of the state.
  • Hawaii has the most transgender persons by percentage, at 0.78 percent (however, the District of Colombia has an incredible 2.77 percent of its residents identifying as transgender).
  • North Dakota has the lowest percentage of transgender persons, at 0.30 percent. Note that even though the “Rough Rider State” comes in 50th place, its percentage of transgender persons is actually equal to the previous nationwide estimate.

In terms of absolute population, California has the most transgender residents, at an incredible 218,400. For reference, that is 30,000 more than the entire active duty United States Marine Corps. Send in the transpeople!

Source: Flores, Andrew R. et al. “How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States?” The Williams Institute, June, 2016.

April 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


Hello everyone! We have two great topics this month on Trans Talk. First, we’re going to talk with Bonyen Lee-Gilmore from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, who is going to discuss a new effort by Planned Parenthood to provide health services to transgender men and women. Next we will kick off a new series of interviews with individuals from the transgender community in Kansas and Missouri which I call “Transgender Kaleidoscope,” and our first guest in this series will be Rachel Mollie Martin, a retired Lt. Colonel and decorated Army Ranger, who has recently seen some major triumphs in her transition, and some serious stumbling blocks as well.

Fiona Nowling will be co-hosting today’s program, and she will give us the community calendar update, while I will provide my view of some of the LGBT news this week. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, April 23 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

March 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month the topic is legislative assaults upon the transgender community, and we’re going to focusing on two subjects in particular. First we will talk with someone fighting back against transgender discrimination – Stephanie Mott, who is the Executive Director of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, or KSTEP. She is courageously suing the state of Kansas for the right to change the gender marker on her birth certificate, and will be discussing her effort and how Kansas put itself in the position of denying valid records changes to transgender persons.

Next we will discuss the recent legislative efforts in Kansas to pass additional anti-transgender legislation, and we will compare these efforts with activities in other states as well. Sandra Meade will be our guest for that segment, and frequent listeners of this program will remember that not only is Sandra the former chair of Equality Kansas, she was the former hostess of this very show.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and we will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, March 26 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

January 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month the topic will be finding our voices, and using them. I will first talk with Gillian Power, who is organizing a transgender chorus in Kansas City to empower the community and help train others in finding their voice. Next I will speak with Brenda Way and Elle Boatman, transgender activists from Wichita who have used their voices and their energy to benefit their community and make Wichita a better place.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and I will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, January 23 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

Kansas State Agencies Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages

Source: BREAKING: State Agencies Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages | Equality Kansas

Equality Kansas, which has many fine people working for it (including my good friend and mentor Sandra Meade), is announcing that Kansas State Agencies are throwing in the towel and recognizing same-sex marriages. The reason is not given, but my speculation is that perhaps Governor Brownback or others in the government finally decided that they didn’t want a Constitutional crisis on their legacy. Whatever the reason, we are winning.

I want to note to the readers out there that it may take several days or weeks for all regional county offices to fall into line, especially the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Even well-intentioned bureaucrats can sometimes err on the side of delay out of fear of losing their job. Please observe the following procedures to make life simpler for yourself:

  • If possible, phone the local office of the DMV yourself and ask if they are issuing drivers licenses with name changes for same-sex marriages. Regardless of how they answer, note down the name of the person you speak to, and the time of the call.
  • If they reply that they are, then ask them exactly what information you need to bring with you. Ask them to repeat this if you are at all unsure. You may want to record the information just so you will not forget.
  • If they reply that they are NOT issuing new licenses, don’t get angry with them. The person on the phone is some low-level person who was given the worst possible task – answering inane and insane questions from the general public, many of whom are angry. They will not and have no ability to change the policy suddenly because you yelled at them. Contact Equality Kansas by e-mail, or your personal legal counsel, and describe the situation. Note the time you phoned, the person you spoke to, and exactly what they said.
  • If you are told they will issue you a license, and then they change your mind after you arrive, stay calm. I know you’re unhappy and you’ve taken time out of your day. Ask to speak to the manager, and note their name. Ask them politely the reason why they will not issue. Don’t negotiate with them – you will not win, and it will only make you and them angry. And being arrested for the catch-all of “disturbing the peace” is a crappy way to spend your day. Pretend like you are Mr. Spock on an away mission if you have to. Note the time and place and everyone you spoke to. Then contact Equality Kansas or your personal legal counsel.

Note that this general policy applies to most other Kansas state agencies as well. Good luck!

Highly Interesting Photos of the Kansas City CD/T Scene, and an Upcoming Local Event

PrivateBirthdayParty0Unknown, 1958

I was pointed to an article in New York Magazine by an acquaintance, which highlights something which I think is very cool. The subject is the discovery and a project to exhibit an incredibly rare collection of photos of the crossdressing, drag, and transgender scene in Kansas City in the 1950’s and 1960’s. From the original article:

In 2006, artist Robert Heishman was poking around a Kansas City salvage yard, looking for material for an undergraduate documentary class, when he stumbled upon a slide carousel labeled “Jack’s Slides: Chicago and Kansas City.”

“The first image I looked at was this picture of a man in a kimono that was incredibly colorful — it was just a stunning image to behold,” Heishman told the Cut. “There were family photos, and then I hit this line of images that were all people dressed in drag, predominantly standing in front of this beautiful mosaic outside a bar.” Intrigued, Heishman purchased the slides — for $2. “I didn’t really know what I was purchasing, but I wanted to have time to sit with them a little longer,” he explains.

Two years later, Heishman’s longtime friend Michael Boles was helping a friend move into a new house in Kansas City — which, as he describes it, was right around the corner from the drag clubs that were vibrant in the ’50s and ’60s. He came across a shoebox of slides that turned out to be quite similar to the ones Heishman had found at the scrapyard. “When we got them together and paired them up, it was kind of amazing,” Boles reflects. “Some of them are even from the same parties.” The resulting collection — titled “Private Birthday Party,” after the signs that used to appear on club doors when drag balls were taking place — includes over 200 images and provides a vivid glimpse of Kansas City’s early drag-ball culture. Heishman and Boles have since brought on Emily Henson to help with background research; together, the three believe they’re close to identifying the photographer.

PrivateBirthdayParty1Unknown, December 1964
PrivateBirthdayParty3Unknown, December 1964

A first peek at these rare photos can be found on the project site, Private Birthday Party. I confess that when I saw the wonderful old photos complete with their classy kitsch I let out a squeal of joy which raised my wife’s eyebrows.
PrivateBirthdayParty2The Colony, 1959

What’s more, there is a debut party and fundraiser for the project which will be held on April 17, 2014, at the Guild in downtown Kansas City. Yours truly is intending to attend, and I hope to be able to ask some questions directly of the folks involved in this project. If anyone reading this wants to say hi, show up and look for the funny little lady with her camera.

PrivateBirthdayParty4The Colony, November 1968
Click here for a direct link to the photo gallery in its current form. I very much hope that they will be posting all of the photographs soon, and in higher resolution as well.

Texas Appeals Court – Texas Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage!

A huge victory for transgender people in the state of Texas!

The case is a very tragic one, and dealt at its heart with bigotry and raw greed. Nikki Araguz, a transgender woman, legally married a firefighter who later was killed while fighting a fire. Mrs. Araguz tried to collect death benefits on behalf of her husband, and in steps both the ex-wife and mother of her husband, who decided to sue to get their hands on the money and away from that “man.” A lower court agreed with them, “despite the fact that a 2009 law allowed individuals like (Mrs.) Araguz to use their sex change certification as a document to obtain a marriage certificate.”

This case is very similar to the local Kansas case of In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002). In that instance a man married a transsexual woman who not only had had SRS, she had gone to extreme lengths to erase her old identity, even changing school records. When the husband died, suddenly the estranged son sued for sole control of the $2.5 million estate, claiming that the wife, J,Noll, was a man and therefore the marriage was invalid. The Kansas Supreme Court agreed, and thus was set two precedents in Kansas:

  1. Transsexuals in Kansas cannot legally enter a heterosexual marriage.
  2. Transsexuals in Kansas can legally enter a lesbian or gay marriage.

As you may expect, the bigots have a serious problem with #2, but that’s just too damn bad. The US Supreme Court has ruled that everyone has a right to marry *someone*, so they have to choose – create legal same-sex marriages in a state which has banned it by Constitutional Amendment, or recognize that heterosexual transgender marriages are legal. Two choices, pick one, bigots.

Texas Appeals Court: State Must Recognize Transgender Identities In Marriage | ThinkProgress.

January, 2014 -Beyond the Looking Glass with Same-Sex Marriage

First off, a brief apology to my conservative friends who are pro-trans, or even trans themselves. But there’s no better way to summarize the movement and the folks who are behind a continued cavalcade of shenanigans direct squarely at LGB and especially transgender persons. In this case we are on the subject of same-sex marriage (SSM), which impacts nearly all transgender persons, more so since in many states it can be very difficult to determine exactly if one is or isn’t married (for example, in Kansas trans lesbians and trans gays can legally marry cisgender women and men, respectively.) But let’s not talk further about that, and take a cannonball into the crazy end of the pool.

First we have Utah, where the conservative anti-SSM contingent is acting as if all hell had broken loose. I mean what’s next, men taking multiple marital sex slaves wives and keeping blacks out of church? The dear folks of Utah are so traumatized by the recent court ruling that their anti-SSM is discriminatory that the Republican Federal House of Representatives has decided that the dear folk of Utah must be protected from the 1,340 same-sex marriages which were performed in the state before said marriages were halted. The bill has absolutely no chance of being made a law, so it’s somewhat a waste of time.

Next we have Nevada, being sued in court over its anti-SSM laws, which has a Solicitor General making statements such as:

The state’s brief argued that the Nevada law defining marriage as between a man and woman “is legitimate, whether measured under equal protection or due process standards.”

“The interest of the state in defining marriage in this manner is motivated by the state’s desire to protect and perpetuate traditional marriage,” wrote Solicitor General C. Wayne Howle, who also argued that Nevada’s marriage laws are rooted in history predating statehood.

“Even before statehood, the 1861 territorial laws defined marriage as existing between ‘a male and a female,’” the document said. “The same limitation on marriage was codified in 1867 … and is substantially the same today.”

He added, “Nevada’s statutes evince a strong encouragement of marriage in its traditional form. These laws are not based on policy whimsy; they are grounded in policy as deeply rooted as any that exists in Nevada law.

“They define Nevada society.”

That being said, the Nevada Attorney General has serious concerns about the viability of their law, after another recent landmark decision where the 9th US Circuit Court rules that gays and lesbians could not be excluded from jury selection based their sexual orientation. So Nevada at least may be getting ready to “grin and bear” SSM coming to their state.

Now we start to step beyond the looking glass, as an Oklahoma Republican lawmaker seriously proposes ending ALL marriages to avoid allowing SSM in their state. Can you all give me a big “WTF?” From the article:

Turner says it’s an attempt to keep same-sex marriage illegal in Oklahoma while satisfying the U.S. Constitution. Critics are calling it a political stunt while supporters say it’s what Oklahomans want.

While this is crazy, it’s also a political tactic which is called “scorched earth outrage”, and it goes like this.

  1. Something happens you don’t like, such as SSM.
  2. You respond by banning ALL marriages, using misdirection and religious arguments to claim that you’re being forced into this by the evil liberals and Emperor Obama.
  3. The populace will rise up in protest over Emperor Obama’s forcing the goode folke of the Faire Lande of Oklahoma to throw away all their marriages. This outraged populace will hold a Constitutional Convention, overthrow the government, and bring back the hardline Christian theocracy/Taliban state which George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson *really* wanted.

Finally, we move from beyond the looking glass to right here in Kansas, which risks becoming crazy cuckoo land. A proposed bill, which has the tentative support of the Governor, would allow both private businesses AND government workers to REFUSE to provide service to people based on their religious beliefs. From the article:

The measure allows government employees to invoke the rule’s protections in providing a lawful service, though it says the agency must “promptly” provide another worker to do so “if it can be done without undue hardship on the employer.”

It really is just that crazy – you could wait in line at the DMV for an hour, get to the front of the line, and have the desk jockey say “sorry, Jesus says we need to kill the trannies, so I’m not serving you. In fact, this is a Christian DMV, so you can’t be served here. I think there’s someone in Garden City who might help you…it’s just 5 short hours away.”

What’s scary is I really can’t say how it would go. Knowing my fellow Kansans, if this measure was put to a public ballot I could see it easily gathering 60% or more of the popular vote. A somewhat large portion of Kansas is either rich people hiding from all the scary masses behind the walls of their gated communities in self-imposed apartheid – or else small-town folks brainwashed by their religious leaders into believing in an interpretation of the New Testament which is so surreal it belongs in a Fellini film.

Texas Transgender Widow Takes on the State for Trans Equality

This is a case which I admit worries me a little. The background is that in 1999, the Texas Courts ruled that transsexuals are always to be considered the gender which was listed on their original birth certificate. Kansas referenced this decision from Texas in their own case, In re Estate of Gardiner, 42 P.3d 120 (Kan. 2002), which held the same.

The reason that this concerns me is that I personally get the benefit of being a legally married trans lesbian. If this is reversed, it calls into question the validity of all trans lesbian and trans gay marriages in Texas.

BOR: Transgender Widow Nikki Araguz’s Marriage Battle An ‘Incredibly Important’ Case for Trans Equality.