California could become the first state to give citizens a third option for identifying their gender on official documentation.
San Diego Democrat Toni Atkins authored Senate Bill 179 because she says current law creates too many barriers for people who want to apply for a change in gender on their driver's license or other forms of identification.
Under Sen. Atkins' proposed law, driver's license or I.D. card applicants could choose a gender category of female, male or nonbinary. A person seeking a change in their documented gender would not need to have undergone surgery in order for the Department of Motor Vehicles to recognize that change, and the department would be prohibited from asking for documentation.
Other countries -- like Australia, Germany, India, Nepal and New Zealand -- already offer this option, and some local governments in the United States have taken steps to become more inclusive, like in San Francisco where officials documents do not include a gender option.
The bill has its first hearing in the Senate Committee on Housing and Transportation on Tuesday.