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Bill would eliminate boys’ and girls’ sections in stores

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A bill being considered in the state legislature would prohibit large retail stories from separating boys’ and girls’ clothing and toys.

Assembly Bill 2826, introduced in February by Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, would apply to department stores that have more than 500 employees.

The proposed law would build upon a previous measure, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, by creating gender-neutral children’s departments in stores such as Target, Walmart and Kohl’s.

Under the Unruh Civil Rights Act: “All people in California are free and equal, regardless of their sex, race, color, national origin, genetic information, sexual orientation … entitling them to full and equal accommodations, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments.”

“AB 2826 is targeted toward stores with 500 or more employees because they have more capacity to move things around and have defined separate sections, whereas smaller stores are already combining sections,” said Gina Frisby, capitol director to Assembly Member Low.

In a recent statement about the proposed law, Low said that he was inspired to write it after one of his staff members’ third grader questioned why some clothes were meant for a certain gender.

No child should be stigmatized for his, her or their choice of toy or clothing, nor should marketing of these items reinforce gender stereotypes, he statement said.

“The bill will allow kids to be themselves,” Frisby said. “Not having defined labeling in sections would help them be themselves,” Frisby said.

Should the bill pass, retail stores who do not follow through with a single, gender-neutral children’s department will receive a civil penalty of $1000 if the violation is not corrected within 30 days beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

– Krista Huey

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