California Now Legally Recognizes a 'Third Gender'

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Oct 17, 2017 10:10 AM
California Now Legally Recognizes a 'Third Gender'

California has become the first state to legally recognize a “third gender.” 

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Gender Recognition Act Sunday, which lets residents choose “non-binary” on identification documents such as drivers’ licenses and birth certificates. 

The legislation was introduced by Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener, who has championed a number of gender-oriented bills lately including the LGBT Senior Bill of Rights, which makes it a crime to refuse to use the preferred gender pronoun of nursing home residents; and Modernizing California HIV Criminalization Laws, which reduces the punishment for people who knowingly donate HIV-tainted blood from a felony (up to an eight-year prison sentence) to a misdemeanor (a maximum sentence of six months). 

According to the law, non-binary is an “umbrella term for people with gender identities that fall somewhere outside of the traditional conceptions of strictly either female or male." 

Wiener thanked Democratic state Sen. Toni Atkinson, who he partnered with on pushing the “groundbreaking gender bill” and praised the law for helping LGBT persons.

“Society forces people into boxes & tells us who we’re supposed to be. SB 179 helps people of all gender identiites be their authentic selves,” he said on Twitter.

“Gov signed our SB179: allows ppl to identify as non-binary, easily correct gender. Big win 4 notion ppl should be allowed to be who they are,” he added.