This week, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) of California signed SB179 into law. By signing the Gender Recognition Act, Brown allowed a third gender choice on state identification cards and driver's licenses issued by California, while also simplifying the process for changing gender and names on state identification papers. California thus recognized male, female, and non-binary as a third gender.
Non-binary is a term to describe persons who do not identify as exclusively male or female. Oregon and the District of Columbia offer the gender-neutral choice of "X" on I.D. cards and driver's licenses, while there is similar legislation pending in the state of New York.
In a statement, Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, claimed that the bill Brown signed makes puts the Golden State in 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.”
The American Psychiatric Association, publisher of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, states that "gender nonconformity [a.k.a. gender dysphoria] is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition."
Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.