SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California driver’s licenses and identification cards will have three gender options starting January 1.

Drivers can select male, female, or nonbinary on the application. The DMV can not require an applicant to provide gender documentation. Those who select nonbinary will get a card with an X in the gender category.

The enrollment form for the California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry will also require applicants to choose from the three categories.

Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 179 into law in October 2017.

The Gender Recognition Act, as its known, states, in part:

“It is the policy of the State of California that every person deserves full legal recognition and equal treatment under the law and to ensure that intersex, transgender, and nonbinary people have state-issued identification documents that provide full legal recognition of their accurate gender identity.”

Oregon, Maine and Minnesota offer the nonbinary gender category designation, along with several foreign countries and cities: Australia, Germany, India, Nepal, and New Zealand. Several cities in the United States, including New York and Washington, DC, do offer a “not designated” gender option. The UC system also allows students to self-state their gender.

Senator Toni Atkins authored SB 179. Upon its introduction, she said, “The state does not currently recognize nonbinary individuals, who self-identify as neither male nor female. This causes them emotional distress and violates their right to be free from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity and expression.”

Several groups opposed SB 179. Catholics for the Common Good Institute said the state’s records should “reflect reality rather than the
desires or private interest of its individual residents.” California Family Council said government documents should reflect genetic and biological reality for identification and medical purposes. It wrote:

“If the state allows individuals who are genetically and physiologically male to list themselves as a female, or vice-versa, then the government will knowingly let people put false information on identity documents. Allowing this fundamentally undermines the credibility, honesty, and authenticity that the public expects and requires from its government. [This] bill advances a lie; that being male or female, or no gender at all is a choice each person has a right to make, not a medical fact each person must recognize. [The] only exception to this rule should be for individuals who are truly intersex. [However], this must only be based on physical evidence, not merely personal feelings or self-identification.”

It’s estimated the third gender option will cost the DMV nearly a million dollars in costs, including changes in IT programming and form modification.