Kansas ‘Women’s Bill of Rights’ is a dangerous legislative lie | Opinion

So on Wednesday, the Kansas House of Representatives passed the “Women’s Bill of Rights.”

You might think that would mean that women in this state could look forward to, I don’t know, maybe a guarantee of equal pay for equal work, greater security from domestic violence, paid time off for pregnancy leave, the right to make their own reproductive decisions and/or equitable representation in government.

Dream on. This is the Kansas Legislature we’re talking about here.

The “Women’s Bill of Rights” establishes no rights for women at all.

It’s just another attempt to enshrine discrimination against transgender individuals in state law. It could be credibly argued that it’s an attempt to legislate them out of existence altogether.

Let’s face facts. The majority of lawmakers of this state absolutely hate transgender people and everything to do with them. They’ve tried over the years to limit their opportunity to live their lives in peace in just about every way imaginable.

This time, it looks like it’s going to happen. While both the House and Senate passed it with just shy of a veto-proof majority, legislators who were absent or didn’t vote are probably enough to put it over the two-thirds threshold.

The bill is about as ignorant as they come. According to the legislative summary:

A “female” would mean an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova.

A “male” would mean an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.

“Woman” and “girl” would refer to human females, and “man” and “boy” would refer to human males.

Those rare individuals who have characteristics of both genders are defined as disabled, which is insulting.

And I don’t know what they’d do about women or men who are born sterile.

Gender would be fixed by the state at birth and there would be nothing you could ever do to change it, not even undergoing sex-change surgery.

The state’s designation would affect the most intimate aspects of life — what bathroom you use, where you’d be housed if incarcerated, how your case would be handled if you’re raped, what shelter you’d be barred from if you’re a victim of domestic violence.

George Orwell would have been proud of the gyrations in the press release where Speaker of the House Dan Hawkins, Majority Leader Chris Croft, and Speaker ProTem Blake Carpenter took a mansplaining victory lap.

“This legislation is essential in ensuring that decades of progress made by the Women’s Rights Movement is not hijacked and in order to protect the rights, safety, dignity and equal opportunity of biological women in our state,” the he/him trio said.

Somebody here’s hijacking the Women’s Rights Movement. And it’s not the transgender woman safely peeing in a locked stall in the women’s room.

The Legislature’s previous efforts to ban transgender athletes from school sports, wisely vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly, were discriminatory, but at least not actively dangerous.

The “Women’s Bill of Rights” is going to get people hurt, and all-too-probably killed.

We all know what happens when transgender women are forced to use men’s restrooms or housed in the general population of men’s prisons.

“Trans people are positioned in relation to a normative culture that is both fascinated and repelled by us,” explains Eric Stanley, an associate professor in gender and women’s studies at University of California at Berkeley. “It’s not usually, ‘I hate you, get away.’ It’s more often, ‘I hate you. Come really close so I can terrorize you.’ . . . The culture war has landed on trans communities, and that violence is specifically brutal.”

That’s what Senate Bill 180 is designed to enable. It’s not a glitch, it’s a feature. And it’s the ugly reality behind this so-called “Women’s Bill of Rights,” with its promisingly progressive, but cynically false title.