California Bill to Allow Third Gender on Legal Docs

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Those identifying as non-binary may soon have properly-reflecting birth certificates and other legal documents.

Related: First Openly Non-Binary Identifying Actor Lands Role in Major T.V. Series

California State Senators Toni Atkins and Scott Wiener introduced Senate Bill 179 on Jan. 24, known as the Gender Recognition Act of 2017. The bill would improve the process of updating names and gender on legal documents. 

The bill would also allow people to select “non-binary” as a gender and remove the requirement that doctors attest to medical treatment.

Atkins, an open lesbian, claimed the bill is an opportunity “to advance civil rights for a community. It is about evolving thoughts around who we identify as, as individuals," according to The Bay Area Reporter.

If approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and would make California the first state to recognize a third gender for legal documents.

"I think as other states move to ostracize and marginalize transgender people with bathroom bills and other attacks, it's even more important for California to go in the other direction and embrace our transgender brothers and sisters,” said Wiener, who is gay. "We need to make it easier for people to go through a transition which is already a difficult period for a lot of people, and we can make it easier by modernizing our laws."


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