The bill would make it illegal for retailers to put up signs saying ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ over displays of toys, clothes or childcare items under the threat of a $1,000 fine.
Meanwhile, stores located in the state that have a website would be required to use titles like ‘kids’, ‘unisex’, or ‘gender-neutral’ rather than dividing goods by sex.
Assembly Bill 1084 requires retailers with 500 or more employees ‘to maintain undivided areas of its sales floor where the majority of those items being offered are displayed, regardless of whether an item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys,’ according to the Legislative Counsel’s digest of the bill.
The California bill would make it illegal for retailers to put up signs saying ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ over displays of toys, clothes or childcare items under the threat of a $1,000 fine. File photo of a section for girls’ toys
Meanwhile, stores located in the state that have a website would be required to use titles like ‘kids’, ‘unisex’, or ‘gender-neutral’ rather than dividing goods by sex. Pictured is a boys’ toy section
The bill, which if passed would go into effect on January 1, 2024, was co-authored by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, who chairs the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, who chairs the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.
The text of the legislation claims the ban is necessary to prevent people from being treated differently due to their sex.
An earlier version of the bill was introduced in 2020, but Low decided to withdraw it to avoid distracting from the COVID pandemic, reported the
Introducing the bill, Low said he was inspired by Target’s decision in 2015 to abolish gendered children’s sections.
‘As much as I’d like to think of this as watershed legislation, this is something the industry is already doing. We’re just trying to play catch up,’ he said.
Low also cited as inspiration a staffer’s nine-year-old daughter, who was confused why she had to go into the boys aisle to find science toys.
‘That was the impetus of this, which is how do we make a safe space today for children in society,’ he said.
The bill has already come in for criticism, with lawmakers blasted for ‘wasting time on trivial legislation’ in the midst of a pandemic.
The bill has already come in for criticism, with lawmakers blasted for ‘wasting time on trivial legislation’ in the midst of a pandemic
Opponents also asked why the Legislature was trying to ‘micromanage’ businesses with its ‘Nanny State nonsense’.
Gregg Bilson tweeted: ‘This is why California is laughed at, there are serious issues facing CA, this isn’t one of them!’
A second Twitter branded the bill ‘a waste of time’ while a third wrote: ‘Because there aren’t more serious things lawmakers should be focusing on (homelessness, crime, stopping evictions, etc).’
Last year, Berkeley City Council announced its intention to ban ‘gendered language’ like ‘manhole’ from its city codes.
The legislation, which passed unanimously among council members on its first reading, also saw thousands of city’s manhole covers transmuted into ‘maintenance holes’.
Some stores, including Walmart have already introduced gender-neutral toy sections
Assembly Bill 1084: The proposed legislation
The bill reads as follows:
AB 1084, as introduced, Low. Gender neutral retail departments.
Existing law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, specifies that all persons within the jurisdiction of the state are free and equal, and no matter their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status, are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind.
This bill would require a retail department store with 500 or more employees that sells childcare items, children’s clothing, or toys, to maintain undivided areas of its sales floor where the majority of those items being offered are displayed, regardless of whether an item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys. The bill would prohibit the use of signage within each undivided area indicating that particular items are for either girls or for boys. If a retail department store places a childcare item, an article of children’s clothing, a toy, or anything that could be considered a combination thereof, in an area of its sales floor outside of the undivided areas where the majority of like items are sold, the bill would prohibit the use of any signage with respect to the item that indicates that it is either for girls or for boys.
This bill would also require a retail department store located in California that maintains an internet website through which it sells childcare items, children’s clothing, or toys, to dedicate a section of the internet website to the sale of those items and articles that is titled, at the discretion of the retailer, ‘kids’, ‘unisex’, or ‘gender neutral’, as specified.
Beginning on January 1, 2024, the bill would make a retail department store that fails to correct a violation of these provisions within 30 days of receiving written notice of the violation from the Attorney General liable for a civil penalty of $1,000, as provided.
For the full bill click here.