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Kansas Lawmakers Could Debate Transgender Bathroom Guidelines

Axelboldt/Wikipedia public domain

Kansas lawmakers are slated to take up the issue of transgender bathroom use next week.

Republican Senate President Susan Wagle says she’s drafting a resolution opposing a federal directive. It says schools should allow transgender students to use bathroom and locker room facilities that match their gender identity.

Gov. Sam Brownback is also criticizing the directive, calling it an example of federal overreach. He says federal funding for other school programs might be cut off or reduced if schools won't comply.

“My concern is that you’re taking funding from school lunches, special needs on this issue,” Brownback says.

Some critics of the federal guidelines say they reduce student privacy.

Tom Witt, with the group Equality Kansas, says continued fighting over this issue can make life harder for transgender students.

“If the people that are agitating for these bathroom bills were really interested in protecting kids, they wouldn’t be trying to single out transgender kids for bullying and harassment,” Witt says.

A debate could take place next week when legislators meet on Wednesday for the ceremonial last day of the session.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.