Bill Would Require California Retailers To Have Gender-Neutral Sections; Violators Face Fines

SACRAMENTO (CBS San Francisco) — Retail stores in California may be required to maintain gender-neutral sections for clothes, toys and childcare articles under a new proposal from a Bay Area lawmaker.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), would require retail department stores with 500 or more employees to maintain areas on their sales floor not divided by gender. Low says this stigmatizes children who want to wear or play with something marketed for the opposite sex.

In a press statement, Low also said It also incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.

“I was inspired to introduce this bill after 8-year-old Britten asked, ‘Why should a store tell me what a girl’s shirt or toy is?’” he said in the statement. “Her bill will help children express themselves freely and without bias. We need to let kids be kids.”

Low’s bill, AB 2826, would also fine stores up to $1,000 for violating the policy.

Major retailers have increasingly made gender-neutral clothing and products a priority, as demographics and Generation Z purchasing power evolve. According to Pew Research, 35% of people born after 1996 knows someone who identifies as non-binary and prefers gender-neutral pronouns.