Proposed California bill would fine stores that segregate kids’ toys and apparel into boys’ and girls’ departments

A proposed California bill would assess $1,000 fines to retailers who don’t create a unisex, gender neutral space in its toys and apparel sections and more, if passed.

The policy would apply to all California retail stores with more than 500 employees if passed.

What are the details?

According to a Tuesday report from Reason, the proposed bill from Assembly Members Evan Low (D) and Cristina Garcia (D) would require retail stores to have “one unisex section” for children’s products and apparel and face fines of $1,000 if stores refused to comply.

The outlet noted, “Brick-and-mortar shops would have to display the majority of their products and clothing aimed at children in one undivided, unisex area on the sales floor. They’d also be barred from putting up signage that would indicate whether a product was intended for a boy or girl.”

Company websites, according to the bill — dubbed AB 1084 — would also need revamping to show that the sections were divided into “kids,” “unisex,” or “gender neutral.”

According to the California Globe, “The bill would specify legislative findings and declarations that there are unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are displayed closer to one another in one, undivided area of the retail sales floor. In addition, keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.”

What else?

In 2020, Low — who is also chair of the Legislative LGBT Caucus — introduced a bill that was nearly identical, but put the movement on hold in May to prioritize COVID-19 work.

At the time, he told Politico, “This is an issue of children being able to express themselves without bias.”

If the bill passes, stores that violate the bill could be assessed a $1,000 fine. The bill is set to be heard at a committee in March.

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