California Might Become the First State to Recognize Non-Binary Gender

California Might Become the First State to Recognize Non-Binary Gender

If an upcoming bill passes, California could become the first state to provide options for those who don't identify as strictly male or female.

If an upcoming bill passes, California could become the first state to provide options for those who don't identify as strictly male or female.

Text: Jake Viswanath

The California Senate has passed a bill entitled the California Gender Recognition Act, which would make non-binary a legal option for gender on government forms, among other actions. Should the bill be signed into law, California would become the first state to officially recognize non-binary as a legal gender, giving those who don’t identify with strictly male or female a viable option for their official documents.

According to Buzzfeed’s report, the bill would also establish other measures that would make legally changing one’s gender a much simpler process in California. This would include removing the current law that requires one to appear in person with a doctor’s note in order to change their gender. The proposed laws will be reviewed by California’s General Assembly, and if approved, will be passed on to the governor, who will make the final decision on whether to sign it into law. The bill’s current chances of passing are unknown, but sponsors are said to be optimistic and hopeful.

Senators Toni Atkins and Scott Weiner, the bill’s co-authors, previously told the Los Angeles Times that the bill is meant to support the LGBTQ community at large and make the process of legally being who they are much easier. "As the LGBT community — but especially the trans community — is under assault in this country, California needs to go in the opposite direction and embrace the trans community and support the trans community and modernize these laws," Weiner said.

The bill was first introduced in the state after 17-year-old Star Hagen-Esquerra, legally changed their gender to non-binary and became the first known minor to declare it as their gender. Although the bill has not yet passed, and it may not, the fact that some politicians are even attempting to advance the LGBTQ community’s rights in the midst of setbacks and turmoils by the Trump administration is heartwarming, and sets a precedent that other states should follow.

Credits: Photo: MediaPunch

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