Female, male or non-binary: California legally recognizes a third gender on identification documents

(USA Today) The state of California will now legally recognize non-binary as a third gender on official state identification documents.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB179 on Sunday night. The bill, dubbed the Gender Recognition Act, will allow a third gender choice on driver's licenses, state identification cards, and make it easier for people to change their gender and name on state identification papers.

Non-binary, is a catch-all term for people who do not identify as exclusively male or female, and has been slowly acknowledged by some states as a gender option.

In June, the District of Columbia followed Oregon's lead and began offering the gender-neutral choice of "X" on driver licenses and identification cards, and similar legislation is currently pending in New York.

Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said in a statement that the bill puts California at the "forefront of ensuring the dignity and safety of its transgender, non-binary and gender-non-conforming residents."

“When your ID doesn’t match your gender identity or expression, it can expose you to potentially dangerous situations," Zbur said. "SB 179 eliminates unnecessary obstacles from the process of getting state-issued identification documents for thousands of Californians.”

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