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Kansas Statehouse trying to legislate transgender people

Transgender people exist and deserve to be treated with dignity. They shouldn’t be legislated away.

However, in the Kansas Statehouse, there was a lot of hand-wringing, pearl-clenching, teeth-gritting, arguing, and frankly, wasted time trying to do it.

In the last two legislative sessions a bill that would ban transgender female athletes in women’s sports was sent to Governor Laura Kelly’s desk and then promptly vetoed.

Derek Schmidt used the topic as a campaign issue when he tried to run for governor last election cycle — and Kansans told him what they thought at the polls.

Did you know that the Kansas State High School Activities Association reported only two transgender youth in after-school activities this year?

Not content to stop there, lawmakers are considering a series of bills that will limit the rights of transgender people.

Andrew Bahl of the Topeka Capital-Journal reports that lawmakers are considering a gender-affirming child care ban, which includes the procedures and therapies transgender people deem vital to improving their health and well-being.

Last month we discussed the ethical dilemmas such legislation could cause for healthcare professionals and their patients. We still believe that lawmakers should leave the regulation of health care to health professionals.

In addition, a bill that caps local anti-discrimination ordinances and a so-called “women’s rights bill” that prevents state agencies from recognizing a person as anything other than her biological gender are under consideration.

Perhaps that time could be better spent discussing real issues affecting education and health care?

Our leaders should be discussing healthcare reform. How can we make it convenient and accessible for all Kansans?

If they want to talk about schools, let’s talk about making sure they’re adequately funded.

What we don’t want to do is discuss where a person belongs in society. It’s self-defeating, deeply cynical, and demonstrates a profound lack of empathy for others.

Kansas transgenders are our friends, neighbors, children and grandchildren. I am not a monolith. They are living, breathing people with wants and needs, hopes and dreams. We cannot lose sight of it. These Kansans deserve better from us and our leaders.

Regulating their existence won’t make Kansas a better place. It will make it a more complicated environment for people to survive, let alone thrive in.

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