California has legally recognised non-binary people for the first time
California has legally recognised non-binary people on official documents for the first time.
In May, the State Senate passed a bill which allowed people to choose a third gender on official forms like driving licences and birth certificates.
That bill was signed into law on Sunday by Governor Jerry Brown, making it official.
The law – which means that in addition to ‘F’ and ‘M’, Californians will be able to choose ‘X’ – is set to come into effect in 2019.
Until this law was passed, Californians wanting to change their gender on government documents had to submit a physician’s sworn statement that they had undertaken medical treatment.
The Gender Recognition Act instead allows people to choose their identified gender without having to prove it physically.
And the options will include a third choice, reading: “Non-binary”.
Democratic State Senator Scott Wiener, who co-authored the bill, welcomed its passage into law while taking aim at Donald Trump’s administration.
“With the passage of [Senate Bill 179] California continues its fight for a more inclusive society, even as some in Washington continue to try to take away rights from LGBT people,” he said.
The other co-author, State Senator Toni G. Atkins, said the law would give a precious freedom to its recipients.
“With Governor Brown’s signature on this bill, transgender and non-binary people will now be able to identify themselves as they are, not as who society tells them they should be,” she said, according to Esquire.
On Twitter, Wiener added: “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: “Society forces people into boxes & tells us who we’re supposed to be. SB 179 helps people of all gender identities be their authentic selves”.
Washington DC became the first US territory to hand out gender-neutral driving licenses and ID cards in June.
Oregon and California were making moves to recognise non-binary people, but DC flew under the radar to cross the finish line first.
Nic Sakurai, an agender Washington resident, was the first American to ever receive a gender-neutral identification form.
They told CNN: “I don’t feel that sense of gender as something that is part of my core innate experience.”
“I’m glad to finally have an ID that actually matches who I am.”
And just two days later, Oregon’s law came into effect, making it the first US state to legally recognise non-binary people.
“This change in ID is a huge piece of validation for me,” J Gibbons, a non-binary, transgender Portland resident told The Guardian at the time.
“The state of Oregon sees me for who I am,” the 26-year-old added.
“I don’t even think ‘excitement’ can capture all of my emotions about this change.”
In March, Patch, a 27-year-old video game designer from Oregon, became the first legally agender person in the US.
Patch, who does not use pronouns, also won the right to become mononymous – that is, to be known by a first name alone, with no surname.
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