Reporting LIVE from COP24
Thursday, 19 October 2017

California Becomes First State to Recognize Third Gender

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“Non-Binary” has become an acceptable gender identification in the state of California. On October 15, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 179, the Gender Recognition Act, into law, paving the way for a third gender choice on state driver's licenses, and simplifying the process for residents to legally change their genders and names on state documents.

The term “non-binary” has become the label of choice for a broad range of individuals who refuse to identify as either male or female, and increasingly government entities across the U.S. are studying the possibility of employing the term, or one like it, to refer to individuals at odds with normal gender labels.

Both Oregon and the District of Columbia now offer the gender-neutral choice of “X” on their driver's licenses and identification cards, and New York state is also considering a third-gender option.

Rick Zbur of Equality California applauded the new law, saying that it puts his state at the “forefront of ensuring the dignity and safety of its transgender, non-binary, and gender-non-conforming residents.” He added that “when your ID doesn’t match your gender identity or expression, it can expose you to potentially dangerous situations. SB 179 eliminates unnecessary obstacles from the process of getting state-issued identification documents for thousands of Californians.”

But Jonathan Keller of the conservative California Family Council (CFC) said the measure is fraught with problems that conflict with a properly functioning society. “We believe government documents need to reflect biological facts for identification and medical purposes,” he said in a statement before passage of the bill. “Secondly, the bill advances a falsehood — that being male or female, or no gender at all is a choice each person must make, not a fact to celebrate and accept. Laws like this will simply erase any meaningful gender definitions — if being male or female is completely divorced from biological facts.”

Following Governor Brown's signing of the bill into law, CFC took to Facebook to lament the measure's passage. “The state of California no longer believes in the dictionary definition of a man or a woman, which says sex is determined by certain physical characteristics,” the group said in a Facebook post. “Now in California any man can declare himself a woman, and any woman can use the word 'man' for self-identification, no questions asked, no physical proof required.”

The pro-family group predicted that “this will not be the end of our journey into irrationality. It is just the beginning. Just watch what happens now that state leaders have established that feelings are more reliable than physical facts when determining what is real and what is true. God help us.”

In reporting on the new California law, the Christian Post noted that “other Western nations, including European Union member states, have also been legalizing third gender options. Back in 2013, Germany became the first European nation to allow parents to effectively choose an 'intermediate sex' gender for newborn babies displaying characteristics of both males and females.”

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