On Wednesday, California senators voted to pass the Gender Recognition Act, a bill to add a third gender option on state IDs for those who don't identify as either male or female.
As CBS Sacramento reports, the bill still needs to pass through the Assembly and be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but if it goes through the necessary steps, California will become the first state to add a third gender option on IDs.
Currently, anyone who wants to update their gender on state identification or official forms would have to submit medical records as proof that they have undergone gender confirmation treatment. The Gender Recognition Act would eliminate that requirement, and instead allow individuals to choose the gender they identify with.
The bill, first proposed in January, would "ensure that intersex, transgender, and non-binary people have state-issued identification documents that provide full legal recognition of their accurate gender identity."
Under the new measure, also known as Senate Bill 179, a third gender option would be added to driver’s licenses, birth certificates, identity cards, and gender change court orders. Minors would also be given the option to apply to update their gender on birth certificates, with permission from parents or legal guardians.
Senator Toni Atkins, who introduced the bill, told CBS Sacramento that the bill would make life easier for transgender or gender non-conforming people who may face harassment if their IDs don't match their gender identity.
"I thank my colleagues in the Senate who took a brave stand today for Californians who have a hard enough time as it is," Atkins told CBS Sacramento. "Most of us use our I.D. on a daily basis and take it for granted. SB 179 will make what should be a simple task much easier for our transgender and nonbinary neighbors."
If the Gender Recognition Act passes through the assembly and is signed by Gov. Brown, it will go into effect in January 2019.
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