California is set to have its first ever lesbian Senate president
California is set to have its first ever lesbian Senate president.
Toni Atkins will also become the first female president when she takes over the role from fellow Democrat Kevin de Leon on Wednesday.
She told The Associated Press: “I think you’re going to see my focus will be internally so you’re not going to get any big pronouncements.”
Atkins wrote the bill which, when it was turned into law last year, legally recognised non-binary people on official documents for the first time in California.
Senator Scott Wiener, who co-authored the bill, said: “When people first interact with Toni, what they see is a very unassuming, low-key person who has a bit of an earth mother effect about her.
“People sometimes mistake that for weakness. But what they don’t see is right underneath that surface is pure steel.
“She is tough as nails. But she has a huge heart.”
The non-binary recognition law Atkins wrote – which means that in addition to ‘F’ and ‘M’, Californians will be able to choose ‘X’ – is set to come into effect in 2019.
Until this law was passed, Californians wanting to change their gender on government documents had to submit a physician’s sworn statement that they had undertaken medical treatment.
Atkins spoke at the time about how the law would give a precious freedom to non-binary Californians.
“With Governor Brown’s signature on this bill, transgender and non-binary people will now be able to identify themselves as they are, not as who society tells them they should be,” she said.
Washington DC became the first US territory to hand out gender-neutral driving licenses and ID cards last year.
Oregon and California were making moves to recognise non-binary people, but DC flew under the radar to cross the finish line first.
Nic Sakurai, an agender Washington resident, was the first American to ever receive a gender-neutral identification form.
They told CNN: “I don’t feel that sense of gender as something that is part of my core innate experience.”
“I’m glad to finally have an ID that actually matches who I am.”
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And just two days later, Oregon’s law came into effect, making it the first US state to legally recognise non-binary people.
“This change in ID is a huge piece of validation for me,” said J Gibbons, a non-binary, transgender Portland resident.
“The state of Oregon sees me for who I am,” the 26-year-old added.
“I don’t even think ‘excitement’ can capture all of my emotions about this change.”