On Sunday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate bill 179, known as the Gender Recognition Act, which will allow for a non-binary choice for government-issued documents, making California the first state in the United States to do so. Under the law, non-binary is defined as “people with gender identities that fall somewhere outside of the traditional conceptions of strictly either female or male.”
In addition to recognizing a third gender option on documents such as birth certificates and drivers licenses, a person identifying as non-binary will no longer have to acquire a doctor’s statement or appear in court for a legal gender change on a document. The bill also allows for minors to apply for change of gender on their birth certificates without any doctor’s documentation.
Senator Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), the bill’s co-author, noted in a statement that the law allows for “transgender and non-binary people [to] be able to identify themselves as they are, not as who society tells them they should be.”
The bill recognizes that a person’s gender may not necessarily fit into categories as “male” or “female,” allowing for a wider array of gender identifications. Governor Brown’s signing of the bill into law is a heartening move and a momentous step in LGBTQIA+ civil rights.
The Gender Recognition Act goes into effect as law in 2019.