California senators introduce bill to create new gender marker

State senators from San Francisco and San Diego announced Thursday a bill to create a new gender marker for people to more accurately describe what gender they feel best describes them on state-issued identification documents.

Sens. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, introduced Senate Bill 179, which would establish a “nonbinary” marker.

Wiener said in a statement:

“Our trans brothers and sisters are under attack in far too many parts of this country and this world…Now, more than ever, California must lead on trans inclusion and ensure that our entire community can live with dignity and respect. This legislation is an overdue step forward.”

The new marker would allow more transgender, intersex and nonbinary residents to get state identification that reflects how they describe themselves, according to the senators.

People who say they are nonbinary describe themselves as neither male nor female. Intersex individuals have sex characteristics, such as genitals, that are different than typical bodily characteristics of males and females.

The bill proposes to create a nonbinary marker for birth certificates, driver’s licenses, identity cards and gender-change court orders.

The new law would also make it easier for people to apply for a change to their gender on state identity documents.

Current law requires a person to get a sworn statement from a physician to certify the extent of the medical treatment done to change their gender. The new law would remove that requirement.

Current law also requires a person to appear in court to change their gender even if no one objects to the person’s petition. The new law would remove that requirement as well.

If someone does file a timely objection, however, then the person would need to appear in court.

Finally, the new law would create a process for youths to apply for a change to their gender identity on their birth certificates.

Atkins said in a statement:

“Our society is becoming more enlightened every day about gender identity…It’s time for our state to make it easier for transgender Californians and those who don’t conform to traditional notions of gender to have state-issued identification documents that reflect who they truly are.”