Sen. Toni Atkins. Photo by Chris Stone

A ground-breaking bill to create a “gender neutral” option for state documents passed the California Assembly on Wednesday and will soon go to Gov. Jerry Brown for signature.

The bill, authored by San Diego-area Sen. Toni Atkins, would create a third gender marker on state-issued identification documents for people who identify as nonbinary or intersex.

“Many of us have an ID that matches our gender presentation, and so showing it is hassle-free,” said Atkins, a Democrat who represents the 39th District.

“But for Californians who have an ID that does not match their gender presentation, showing it at airports, in shops or to law enforcement can be extremely stressful and lead to harassment or a delay in completing a transaction,” she said. “It doesn’t need to be this way. SB 179 will make things a lot easier for our transgender, nonbinary and intersex friends and neighbors.”

The legislation also makes it easier easier for residents to receive a gender change from state agencies and the courts.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria, who represents the 78th District where Atkins previously served, thanked her for championing LGBTQ rights at the state level.

“Despite the divisive rhetoric at the federal level, SB 179 demonstrates the inclusiveness of California and represents recognition from government that people can exist as more than just male or female,”he said. “Further, SB 179 sends a clear message: no matter who you are or how you identify, we accept you here.”

The bill now heads back to the Senate for concurrence with amendments made in the Assembly. From there, it goes to the governor for his signature.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.