SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California’s Democratic governor has signed a bill into law that will add a third gender option to driver’s licenses for residents who do not identify as male or female.
Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed into law Senate Bill 179, known as the “Gender Recognition Act,” which will allow applicants for driver’s licenses in California to have three options for gender: male, female or “nonbinary.”
The bill, which goes into effect on January 1, 2019, asserts that the traditional gender designations of male and female “fail to adequately represent the diversity of human experience.”
“Nonbinary is an umbrella term for people with gender identities that fall somewhere outside of the traditional conceptions of strictly either female or male,” the bill says. “People with nonbinary gender identities may or may not identify as transgender, may or may not have been born with intersex traits, may or may not use gender-neutral pronouns, and may or may not use more specific terms to describe their genders, such as agender, genderqueer, gender fluid, Two Spirit, bigender, pangender, gender nonconforming, or gender variant.”
Sen. Scott Wiener, who is openly homosexual, co-authored the legislation with Sen. Toni Atkins.
“The inability for people to accurately identify themselves on government documents has been a real, tangible issue for the community for years, and this policy to fix it is long overdue,” Wiener said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “Forcing people to lie on their government documents is terrible policy and a violation of people’s basic civil rights.”
“With Governor Brown’s signature on this bill, transgender and nonbinary people will now be able to be who they are, not who society forces them to be,” he also remarked in a statement. “For too long society has forced people into gender boxes. It’s time for government to get out of the way and let people live their lives authentically as who they are.”
Atkins likewise praised the bill as an important development.
“I want to thank Governor Brown for recognizing how difficult it can be for our transgender, nonbinary and intersex family members, friends and neighbors when they don’t have an ID that matches their gender presentation,” she said. “The Gender Recognition Act will eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety for many Californians, and it exemplifies the leadership role that our state continues to take in LGBTQ civil rights.”
However, the nonprofit California Family Council voiced opposition to the bill and warned of its far-reaching implications.
“The bill advances a falsehood; that being male or female, or no gender at all is a choice each person must make, not a fact to celebrate and accept,” said Jonathan Keller, the council’s CEO. “Laws like this will simply erase any meaningful gender definitions, if being male or female is completely divorced from biological facts.”
“Pull out your driver’s license and you will see that all the identification characteristics listed are physical descriptions,” said Greg Burt of the California Family Council in a testimony against Senate Bill 179. “Eye color, hair color, height, weight and sex: These are all listed on a driver’s license because these physical characteristics can be independently verified by physical evidence, even if a person is unconscious.”
“If you allow someone who is physically male to list themselves on a government document as a female, or vice a versa, then the government will be legalizing a lie,” he added.
As previously reported, Oregon became the first state in the U.S. to allow its residents to identify as neither male nor female on their driver’s licenses and identification cards. Oregonians can now select “X” for their gender instead of “M” or “F.”