California Has Officially Recognized A Third Gender

Photographed by Stephanie Gonot.

In a huge move for non-binary people in the state, California has moved to officially recognize a third gender identity.

BuzzFeed reports that on Sunday, California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that makes the state the first in the nation to legally allow people to identify as non-binary on state-issued identity documents, such as driver's licenses and birth certificates.

The Gender Recognition Act was first proposed in January, and was signed by California senators in June, to "ensure that intersex, transgender, and non-binary people have state-issued identification documents that provide full legal recognition of their accurate gender identity."

The bill also makes it easier for individuals to go through the process of legal gender change by eliminating the requirement to provide a doctor's statement or to appear in court to do so.

Under the new law, a third gender option would be added to driver’s licenses, birth certificates, identity cards, and gender change court orders, and minors are given the option to apply to update their gender on birth certificates, with permission from parents or legal guardians.

Last year, an Oregon court ruled that a person could legally identify as neither female nor male, but California has now become the first state to legally recognize non-binary and gender fluid people across the state.

"I want to thank Gov. Brown for recognizing how difficult it can be for our transgender, non-binary, and intersex family members, friends, and neighbors when they don’t have an ID that matches their gender presentation," the bill's co-author Sen. Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, said in a statement to BuzzFeed. "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."

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