US

California Could Soon Recognize Three Genders

REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

California residents could soon have three gender choices when they apply for a driver’s license, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

State senators Toni Atkins and Scott Weiner introduced the “Gender Recognition Act” last week. The legislation creates a “nonbinary” category in addition to the age-old male and female designations. The amendment would also make it easier for people to arbitrarily change their gender on a birth certificate without having sex-change surgery.

In a news release, Atkins claimed, “Our society is becoming more enlightened every day about gender identity. It’s time for our state to make it easier for transgender Californians and those who don’t conform to traditional notions of gender to have state-issued identification documents that reflect who they truly are.”

She suggested that “this bill will help them avoid the discrimination and harassment that too many of these residents face in their daily lives,” without providing proof of discrimination or harassment or showing how the legislation would alleviate that response.

People who seek to change their sex on a birth certificate right now in California have to have their doctor authenticate their having had surgical “gender transition.” The new law would circumvent that process and would also excise the word “sex” from the legal vocabulary. The pronouns “his” or “her” would now become “the petitioner.”

Moreover, people younger than 18 will be able to change their gender on their birth certificates with consent of a parent or guardian. If they can’t get that consent, they can contest it in court.

The Transgender Law Center lent their assistance to the senators in drafting the bill just as they helped a non-citizen transgender Latino man sue then-Governor Mike Pence over a birth certificate name-change issue.

Atkins says the law will “enable more transgender, intersex and nonbinary people to obtain state-issued identity documents that accurately reflect their gender.

 “Nonbinary,” or “genderqueer,” defies a precise definition but can generally be described as applying to people who can’t decide what sex they are or believe their sexual identity keeps shifting.

“Our trans brothers and sisters are under attack in far too many parts of this country and this world,” Sen. Wiener said. “Now, more than ever, California must lead on trans inclusion and ensure that our entire community can live with dignity and respect. This legislation is an overdue step forward.”

The legislation will likely come before a policy committee of the California assembly by March.

“California is a national leader in LGBTQ rights,” Atkins proclaimed at a news conference where she first announced the bill.

She predicted it might not end in California. “The Gender Recognition Act is the next big step down a path that all others eventually will follow.”

Follow David on Twitter