SACRAMENTO – California became the first state in America to legally recognize a third gender after Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown signed the legislation Sunday.
State drivers’ licenses, birth certificates, and other identity documents will now allow residents to check “non-binary” rather than just male or female, the Sacramento Bee reported Monday. The Gender Recognition Act is one of several gender-oriented bills Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener introduced this year. Wiener partnered with Democrat State Sen. Toni Atkinson to push the bill.
Many in the transgender community reported difficulty traveling when the gender on licenses and other identification conflicted with their appearance, according to a 2015 survey of U.S. transgenders. The survey included responses from 27,000 people, less than a third of which identified as gender non-binary.
Wiener introduced and passed legislation that decreased the penalty for knowingly spreading HIV, and his bill to penalize Californians who refuse to use transgender pronouns will go into effect in January.
The law is limited to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, but it mandates that those who “willfully and repeatedly” refuse “to use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns” can be slapped with a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison, according to the California Heath and Safety code.
Known as the “LGBT Senior Bill Of Rights,” the legislation requires nursing homes and care facilities to allow residents to use the bathroom of their choice, regardless of biological sex. Religious views don’t hold weight in public areas, argues Wiener, the bill’s author.
“Everyone is entitled to their religious view,” Wiener said. “But when you enter the public space, when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law.”
Feature Photo: A protestor holding a flyer with the words “Gender is like that old jumper from my cousin. It was given to me and it doesn’t fit” at a rally for transgender equality in Washington D.C. in 2013. CC BY-SA 2.0, by Ted Eytan
Disclaimer: News articles on this site may contain opinions of the author, and if opinion, may not necessarily reflect the views of the site itself or the views of the owners of NewsLI.com, Long Island Media Inc., or Long Island Exchange®. For more information on our editorial policies please view our terms of service.