California Gov. Brown signs law recognizing nonbinary as a third gender option

California Gov. Jerry Brown. Official photo.

A declaration at the beginning of California’s Senate Bill 179 says, “It is the policy of the State of California that every person deserves full legal recognition and equal treatment under the law and to ensure that intersex, transgender, and nonbinary people have state-issued identification documents that provide full legal recognition of their accurate gender identity.”

Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, making California the first state in the nation to officially recognize a third gender.

“Gender identification is fundamentally personal, and the state should endeavor to provide options on state-issued identification documents that recognize a person’s accurate gender identification,” the new law states. “The binary gender designations of female and male fail to adequately represent the diversity of human experience.”

"’For too long society has forced people into gender boxes,’ said state Sen. Scott Weiner (D–San Francisco), who co-sponsored the legislation with state Sen. Toni Atkins (D–San Diego). ‘It's time for government to get out of the way and let people live their lives authentically as who they are’, reported in its Hit & Run Blog."

For additional information on gender options, visit:
Non-binary pronouns a growing part of gender identity
California lawmakers want third-gender option on IDs
A question of identity: Neither man nor woman.

The bill affects identity documents, including driver’s licenses and birth certificates.

“The bill also eases the process of legal gender changes of any kind — male to female, female to male, and either male or female to nonbinary — by removing requirements to obtain a doctor’s statement or appear in person in court,” reported BuzzFeed News.

Current state law required persons seeking a gender change on their birth certificate to have undergone clinically appropriate treatment for gender transition. The new law removes that requirement, substituting an application to change gender on their birth certificate, and an affidavit that the change is to conform the person’s legal gender with their gender identity. The new gender options on birth certificates are male, female and nonbinary.

The new law deletes any requirement that a person has to have undergone any treatment to seek a court judgment that recognized a change of gender.

“’I want to thank Gov. Brown for recognizing how difficult it can be for our transgender, nonbinary and intersex family members, friends and neighbors when they don’t have an ID that matches their gender presentation,’ the bill's co-author Sen. Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, said in a statement to BuzzFeed. "’The Gender Recognition Act will eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety for many Californians, and it exemplifies the leadership role that our state continues to take in LGBTQ civil rights.’”

It was far from certain that Gov. Brown would sign the bill into law. He had not indicated whether he supported or opposed it, and was reportedly concerned about the cost of making the change to government data systems.

Copyright The Gayly – October 16, 2017 @ 4:45 p.m. CDT.