Hate-Filled KC Star Tags Pro-Women Group as ‘Anti-Trans,’ Refuses Letter to the Editor

May 4th, 2023 11:46 AM

On Tuesday, the far-left Kansas City Star uncorked a 1,800-word-plus tome of punditry masquerading as a news story melting down over the Kansas legislature’s passage of a bill that seemed unnecessary five or ten years ago in ensuring everyone’s clear on what is a man and a woman. 

Worse yet, they oversimplified the mission of the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) (a member of the MRC’s Free Speech Alliance) and smeared them as simply an “anti-trans” organization, never quoted them, and, as NewsBusters can report, spiked a column in support of the bill.

In “Kansas will legally define gender as sex at birth. What that means for transgender rights,” activist reporters Kynala Phillips and Katie Bernard touted six opponents of basic biology over ten quotes (and 11 indirect quotes) but none in support of the measure except that label of IWF.

It came in paragraph three: “The national anti-trans group Independent Women’s Forum has been pushing for this law and similar variations across the country. They say the law is meant to prevent judges from interfering with existing single-sex public spaces.”

Amid debate over the bill, IWF’s advocacy wing, Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), sought to have placed in the paper a column in support of the bill. After being shot down, Kansas City Star editorial board member Derek Donovan explained that, while he wouldn’t run an outright column, a letter to the editor would suffice. Such a decision was relayed on April 6.

In turn, a letter to the editor was penned and submitted by Kim Borchers, a businesswoman and Republican National Committeewoman for the Sunflower State.

In an April 18 e-mail obtained by NewsBusters, Donovan replied the paper would be “pass[ing] on this” because “there has to be an extremely high bar for me to run something negative about half a percentage of the population -- a group of people who experience extreme discrimination and are very poorly understood.”

Wait, so it’s not worth spending a few hundred words on support for a bill protecting innocent boys, girls, men, and women that passed the legislature by a veto-proof majority, but it is entirely worth over 1,800 words going full Chicken Little on how “half a percentage of the population” wouldn’t be able to force the rest to accept a warped view of human biology?

Almost two hours later, Borchers wrote back and acknowledged he’s able “to deny or accept” submissions, “it is disheartening that the KC Star has refused to cover the other side of this issue and the impact on women.”

IWV Media Coordinator Lynn Hatcher sent her own email the next morning:

Derek - The Women’s Bill of Rights does not affect half a percentage of the population or do anything to marginalize or discriminate against trans-identifying individuals. It affects the 1.46 million women who live in Kansas. This is why a perspective other than the biased LTE’s and op-eds you continue to run is so important.

The response from Derek? Crickets.

Back to the story where Bernard and Phillips were teeming with disdain from the lede graph: “Republican lawmakers in Kansas passed a sweeping law last week that will restrict the kinds of public spaces and services transgender and nonbinary Kansans will have access to, overriding a veto from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.”

Right after the “anti-trans” nonsense, there came this doozy from a woman pretending to be man, who happens to be an editor with the University of Kansas newspaper: “It shows that there are people in our government system that are trying to erase our identities.”

The piece broke down into six sections about the supposed implications, which goes to show how complicated the liberal media think it is that people with male or female genitalia should only be identified as and share public accommodations (e.g. bathrooms, locker rooms) with those of similar parts.

The first heading dealt with “what we know...so far” and they bemoaned that the bill was “based solely on reproductive capability, meaning that the state will legally recognize gender only in the binary terms of sex assigned at birth: either male or female.” In the next line, they naturally insisted this was “cisgender” terminology, which was entirely accurate.

The third section (“How Does the Law Define Male and Female?”) drew another huge dose of cope. They at least quoted the bill: “A ‘female’ is an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to produce ova, and a ‘male’ is an individual whose biological reproductive system is developed to fertilize the ova of a female.”

And, for anyone concerned about people born with deformities (which they called “intersex) “will be considered disabled and protected under the Americans with Disability Act, according to the law.”

The second part on regulating this drew more sad trombones (click “expand”):

Critics say the ambiguity invites opportunities for discrimination against trans Kansans, as well as cisgender Kansans whose appearances may not fit within societal gender norms. 

It could have “broad reaching consequences for the way that trans folks interact with society in everyday life,” according to Ellen Bertels, an attorney for Kansas Legal Services who helps transgender Kansans update their name or gender on official documents.


“A court would have to decide who’s a man and who’s a woman. That’s what this is telling the courts to do,” said Kyle Velte, a University of Kansas law professor who specializes in law related to employment and sexual orientation discrimination. She described the law as “contrary to all the best practices of medicine, science and psychology.” 

The fourth portion on “What Public Spaces Will Be Affected” had five sub-sections: “Athletics and locker rooms,” “Restrooms," “Prisons or other detention facilities,” “Domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers,” and “Other areas where biology, safety, or privacy are implicated that result in separate accommodations.”

Not surprisingly, it drew plenty of disdain, including speculation that “bearded, balding people” would cause horror in “the women’s restroom” (but not the presence of a penis), concerns about trans people not being able to feel comfortable in prison (so traurig), and loss of federal funding (click “expand”):

Former Rep. Stephanie Byers, a Wichita Democrat who was the first transgender state legislator in Kansas, said that, contrary to the aims of proponents, the law would effectively turn single-sex restrooms across the state into uni-sex facilities.

“When this becomes law, trans men — bearded, balding people — will now be going into the women’s restroom because legally that is where they are required to go,” Byers said. 


“If you’re just talking about things like somebody’s at a restaurant, and they see someone go into the women’s room, and they think, ‘Oh, my gosh, I don’t think that’s a ‘real woman’?’’ Can they go in and challenge it? I don’t know,” Velte said.


This law will have a direct effect on prisons and correctional facilities because trans women will likely be placed in men’s jails and prisons, and trans men could be placed in women’s jails and prisons, according to Bertels, adding that this is already common practice throughout the state and nationwide. There is currently one trans woman in the women’s correctional facility in Topeka. 

Kelly’s administration warned that Kansas could also get less federal grant funding for criminal justice programs because the new law will require Kansas to violate the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act. 


“My understanding of the law is that she could be denied a bed on the women’s side. Now, she might be told that she could have a bed on the men’s side, she might be told she can’t be served at all,” Bertels said. 

Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration warned that the bill could also result in the loss of federal funds for Kansas state agencies because compliance with the bill would violate non-discrimination policies, affecting the quality of services those agencies could provide.


“We’re at risk of losing a ton of federal funding for domestic violence centers,” said Taryn Jones, a lobbyist for the LGBTQ advocacy organization Equality Kansas.


Programs that could be affected include substance abuse programs administered by the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services, and state mental health hospitals, which must comply with federal guidelines on gender identity. 

The Kansas Department for Children and Families also has youth residential centers and groups homes that could be affected. Federal guidance surrounding foster care funds also supports affirming a child’s gender identity, Kelly’s office said.

Not to be left out, there was even a section bemoaning how it was “most likely, no” that Kansas state IDs would allow someone to be marked down as gender fluid, a spirit animal, or the like.