California Recognizes Third Gender

October 2017

Puneet Singh, Esq.

On October 15, 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the “Gender Recognition Act” creating a third nonbinary gender for California State identification documents. The law, parts of which will go into effect on September 1, 2018 and on January 1, 2019, provides for the following:

  • Ensures that intersex, transgender, and nonbinary people have state-issued identification documents (drivers’ licenses, birth certificates, identity cards, and gender change court orders) that provide full legal recognition of their accurate gender identity.
  • Requires the State to provide three equally recognized gender options on state-issued identification documents: female, male, and nonbinary. The State must also provide an efficient and fair process for individuals to amend their gender designation on state-issued identification documents and the identification documents must legally recognize a person’s gender identification.
  • Streamlines the legal process for one to change their gender marker. The law deletes the requirement that a person have undergone treatment to seek a court judgment to recognize their change in gender and would permit the individual to attest, under penalty of perjury, that their request is to conform their legal gender to their gender identity. The law also provides for modified procedures to obtain a court order for a change of name to conform to the person’s gender identity and a court judgment to recognize a change in the person’s gender. Lastly, a separate procedure is provided for those under 18 years of age to petition for a court judgment to recognize a change of gender to male, female, or nonbinary.

The new law also defines the terms “intersex”, “binary” and “transgender” and recognizes the frequent discrimination, harassment, and violence faced by these individuals in housing, education, employment, health care and law enforcement.

To access the text of the Gender Discrimination Act (Senate Bill 179) click here:

NOTE: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. For legal advice please contact an experienced attorney.