SB 179 states “The binary gender designations of female and male fail to adequately represent the diversity of human experience.”
Generally, when it comes to birth certificates, driver’s licenses and state identification, individuals must select either “M” for male or “F” for female. Now, California is changing the rules and adding a third option— which will most likely be known as “X.”
This is a progressive step towards equal rights for transgendered and gender non-conforming Californians. The bill states, “The binary gender designations of female and male fail to adequately represent the diversity of human experience.”
The bill, SB 179, will take effect September 1, 2018. Called the Gender Recognition Act, the act will amend California’s Civil Code of Procedure, which states that an individual may reapply for a new birth certificate only after they have undergone surgical gender reassignment procedures. The amendment eliminates this prerequisite. The amendment also benefits intersex individuals or those born with natural non-binary variations, which is estimated to constitute 1.7% of the general population.
According to the bill, “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… (b) 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…”
California will be the first state in the nation to officially (on paper) recognize non-binary gendered individuals. However, Oregon is similarly adding a nonbinary option just for state driver’s licenses this coming June. The state of California is following the example of countries including Germany, New Zealand, and India, which all have instated inclusive nonbinary representation.
“For someone who has an ID that states a gender that doesn’t match their gender presentation, things can get difficult — everything from a delay in completing what should be a mundane task to outright harassment,” said Sen. Toni Atkins of San Diego.
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