California retail stores may be asked to eliminate separate sections for “boys” and “girls” toys, clothing, and child care items, if a bill introduced last month by Democrats in the California state legislature becomes law.
The bill, when it was first co-authored by Democratic Assemblymembers Evan Low and Christina Garcia, said it would require retail department stores 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.”
It was introduced on Feb. 18 and remains in committee. The bill proposes fines of up to $1,000 for stores that don’t comply.
Low, chairperson of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, told KPIX 5 that retail stores that divide their floors by gender stigmatizes children who wish play with or wear clothing that is marketed for the opposite sex.
“Rather than having a separate boy’s or girl’s section, let’s just have a kid’s section. And that’s what the conversation is about. Let’s make sure that we remove the kind of stigma, the type of bullying that we still see, especially in this day and age,” Low said.
The legislation would prohibit larger retail stores from using signage that indicates items are for either boys or girls.
It would also require state retail department stores to dedicate a section of their websites “ to the sale of those items and articles that is titled, at the discretion of the retailer, ‘kids’, ‘unisex,’ or ‘gender neutral,’ as specified.”
The legislation if it is passed, will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
It comes amid a progressive political push for governments to enforce the social ideals of “inclusivity” and “equality.”
Last month, toy-maker Hasbro announced that it was dropping the “Mr.” from the brand’s name so all could feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.