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California becomes first state to recognize nonbinary gender on legal documents

Governor Jerry Brown also signed three more bills aiding LGBTI Californians

California becomes first state to recognize nonbinary gender on legal documents
Senators Toni Atkins and Scott Wiener

Yesterday (15 October), California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 179, or the Gender Recognition Act. This bill adds nonbinary as a gender option on all state-issued IDs.

The state legislature passed the bill last month.

California isn’t the first state to offer a third gender option, but it is the broadest and most specific. In July, Oregon added ‘X’ as an option, but only for driver’s licenses and ID cards.

The Golden State, however, specifically lists ‘nonbinary’ as its option and extends to more documents. It also makes the legal process of gender changing on documents easier. Going forward, people won’t have to appear in court or obtain a doctor’s statement.

The bill first passed the state senate on 31 May and then the Assembly three months later. Brown signed the bill on the last day of his deadline to do so.

Democratic State Senator Toni Atkins, the bill’s co-author, tweeted about the success.

Further protections for LGBTI citizens

However, SB 179 wasn’t the only bill Brown signed to help California’s LGBTI citizens.

He also signed Senate Bill 310, which gives incarcerated people equal access to change their name or gender. Atkins, who also authored this bill, tweeted about it as well.

It doesn’t end there.

Senator Scott Wiener, who co-authored SB 179 and 310 with Atkins, authored his own bills to help the LGBTI community of California. Brown signed these into law as well.

The first is Senate Bill 219, which enacts the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights. It protects the rights of LGBTI seniors in long-term care.

The second is Senate Bill 239, which amends various criminal laws regarding HIV transmission.

Wiener tweeted he and Atkins will celebrate these victories at the San Francisco LGBT Center today.

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