Senate Leader Atkins’ Gender Recognition Act Takes Effect

September 4, 2018

State Courts Unveil Online Help Center for Californians Applying for Name or Gender Change

SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) today encouraged residents seeking a gender and/or conforming name change on their state-issued identity documents to visit the California Courts’ online help center for assistance with new procedures established by two pieces of legislation authored by Atkins and signed by Governor Jerry Brown last year.  

The new procedures took effect on Sept. 1 under Senate Bill 179, the Gender Recognition Act, and Senate Bill 310, the Name and Gender Act.

The Gender Recognition Act simplifies the process for transgender, nonbinary and intersex Californians to obtain a gender or conforming name change on state-issued identity documents. The Name and Gender Act provides incarcerated individuals the ability to change their gender or name in a California court under existing court processes.

“When Governor Brown told me he had signed SB 179, it was one of the proudest moments of my career,” Atkins said. “Mindful of all the people I know who are gender-nonconforming, and the families I know with transgender children, I wanted to make sure that California continued to be a leader in gender-identity equality. I am thrilled to see SB 179 and SB 310 implemented and grateful to our courts for their work to ensure a streamlined application process.”

“The implementation of these laws represents California’s commitment to treating transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming residents with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “These are matters of fairness. We’re proud to be fighting alongside Senate President pro Tem Atkins to ensure every Californian has access to identification that reflects who they are and anyone who faces incarceration is set up for successful reentry into society when they’re released.”

“We’re glad that nonbinary people in California will finally have access to identity documents that reflect who they are. Having appropriate ID is an issue of public safety for many trans, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people, who may be subject to discrimination, harassment and even violence when they’re forced to carry inaccurate or mismatched documents,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center. “The new law also removes costly and outdated barriers to updated IDs and birth certificates that fell disproportionately on incarcerated trans, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people and those without access to affirming healthcare. SB 179 and SB 310 are two strong steps toward recognizing the dignity of our community in California."

Under the simplified processes created by the new laws, individuals may change their gender markers to nonbinary, in addition to male or female, on state-issued identity documents by petitioning a gender and/or conforming name change through a judicial process or revising their birth records. Starting on Jan. 1, 2019, individuals may change their gender markers on their state driver’s licenses and identification cards.

Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: