Within recent months there seems to be a disconcerting trend in the Midwest of state legislatures like Kansas trying to legislate and regulate transgender bodies.
From initiatives to ban puberty blockers to medical care, the Sunflower State has joined a growing list of those attempting to ban transgender athletes from competing in girl’s K-12 and college women’s sports.
It is unlikely to become law, without a veto proof majority, if Governor Kelly, a Democrat, disapproves.
In South Dakota, a similar sports restriction bill passed but was vetoed by the state’s Republican governor. This wave of anti-transgender legislation has been growing steadily and already this year 82 anti-transgender bills have been introduced in legislatures across the county, a new record.
This is heartbreaking.
Beyond the major economical blowback that such bills would incur, from the NCAA pulling championships to teams losing sponsorships, state legislatures are sending a clear message that such bills are drafted from a place of hatred, not out of concern for their constituents, certainly not me or queer Kansans like myself.
This desire to regulate sex and gender has always been strange to me. When I talk about Kansas I want to talk about the rolling Flint Hills, not how the representative from my hometown thinks trans women competing in sports are doing so to have an unfair advantage.
A 2015 study done by the UCLA School of Law, found that 29% of transgender respondents in Kansas reported experiencing discrimination and harassment in public. Having to juggle puberty while feeling out your identity is hard enough without octogenarians trying to tell you which bathroom to use or how to dress, let alone which sports you should be allowed to play.
Our state motto reads “Per aspera ad astra,” or “through hardships to the stars.” The journey of self-discovery and acceptance queer youth in the often-unforgiving Midwest undergo is already one rifled with challenges—we don’t need anymore.