Judge orders Kansas to stop gender changes on driver’s licenses


By Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A judge on Monday ordered Kansas to stop allowing transgender people to change the gender listed on their driver’s licenses after a lawsuit filed by the state’s Republican attorney general.

The state’s Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and Republican Attorney General Kris Kobach have been at odds over the issue, over which the latter sued officials at the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson issued the temporary restraining order on Monday. The order is in effect for 14 days, and can be modified by the court.

Kobach argued that a law passed by the state legislature that went into effect this month – which defined a person’s sex as male or female based on the “biological reproductive system” identified at birth – meant people could not change the sex on their driver’s license and that any past changes should be reversed.

Republican lawmakers in different state legislatures across the U.S. have passed a flurry of bills relating to transgender youth, which proponents say are aimed at protecting minors and opponents say limit their rights.

Some states have banned teachers of younger children from discussing gender or sexuality, while conservative lawmakers have also proposed or passed laws restricting drag performances.

In June, President Joe Biden warned of “ugly” attacks from “hysterical” people who he said were targeting LGBTQ+ Americans, especially transgender youth.

The transgender community has also faced online attacks. In a recent survey published by advocacy group Anti-Defamation League (ADL), about 76% of transgender people in the U.S. said they have faced online harassment during their lifetime.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, editing by Deepa Babington)

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