For transgender Kansans, there may be no place as hateful as home

For transgender Kansans, there may be no place as hateful as home
Defaced mural of the Wizard of Oz on June 12 2014 in Saint John's Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo: Shutterstock

Republicans in Kansas’ state legislature are trying to pass a resolution that opposes all efforts to validate transgender identity.

The resolution, passed on Feb. 17 in a voice vote of the 180-member GOP state committee, recognized the dignity of every human being, including those who identify as LGBT. But then it opposed efforts to surgically or hormonally alter bodily identity, as well as “any effort to validate transgender identity.”

Submitting the anti-trans resolution was Eric Teetsel, of the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas. Teetsel is the son-in-law of former Kansas governor Sam Brownback, President Trump’s new religious-freedom ambassador.

The resolution is a hateful anti-science, anti-trans policy that demeans and dehumanizes transgender Kansans, according to Equality Kansas.

“Denying science and attacking schoolchildren in the name of religion is not a recognition of ‘dignity,’” a statement from the group said.

Brownback was approved as the nation’s ambassador for religious freedom in January. His lieutenant governor, Jeff Colyer, was elevated to governor. Kansas enters a gubernatorial election with a record number of candidates.

Among them are Colyer and Kris Kobach, the controversial Kansas secretary of state who contributed to Trump’s immigration policies and served on Trump’s short-lived commission on election fraud.

Kansas Equality called out the GOP resolution as an election-year ploy.

“This is a cheap election year attack by Sam Brownback’s son-in-law and yet another attempt to dehumanize those who do not fit inside the narrow world view of Brownback, his family and his wing of the Republican Party,” Kansas Equality said.

Kansas Republicans have a history of attacking their state’s LGBT citizens. The state GOP opposes same-sex marriage.

In 2015, then-governor Brownback repealed an executive order that prohibited discrimination against state employees on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. In 2016, the Kansas Senate approved a resolution against a federal directive that said transgender students should be allowed to use the restroom of their choice.

The human rights organization noted the irony of the timing of this latest resolution.

“Equality Kansas is incredibly disappointed that Kansas Republicans, on a day they should be focused on protecting children, promote such an undignified and crass assault.”

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