NEW LAW DECLARES CALIFORNIA IS NO LONGER MALE OR FEMALE
Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed into law legislation that recognizes a third gender option for driver’s licenses and birth certificates. Starting in 2019, Californians will be able to identify themselves as not just male or female, but “nonbinary.”
The bill was one of many Brown left to the last day of the Oct. 15 deadline to either sign or veto.
California joins Oregon and Washington D.C. in creating the third gender option on driver’s licenses. New York state may follow suit. Unlike California, Oregon and Washington have not passed an actual law enacting the change. Countries that recognize a third gender include Australia, Germany and India.
The legislation, SB 179, from state Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), also rescinds the requirement that individuals who want to change their gender must submit a sworn statement from a physician declaring they have undergone clinical treatment. That change takes effect Sept. 1, 2018.
“With Governor Brown’s signature on this bill, transgender and non-binary people will now be able to identify themselves as they are, not as who society tells them they should be,” said Wiener, in a statement.
The new law not only addresses the experience of inter-sex people — those individuals born with ambiguous sexual characteristics — but also codifies a growing trend among transgender youth who eschew a traditional gender identity, decoupling it from not only their innate physiology, but from the notion that only males and females exist.