California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that requires toy stores to feature “gender neutral retail departments” so that children will not need to pick toys from a gender-specific section.
This bill is the first of its kind nationwide.
As The Associated Press noted, LGBT advocates claim that the bill will help relieve “pressure children to conform to gender stereotypes.”
“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,” said The Consumer Federation of California, praising the bill, as The Sacramento Bee reports.
Axios explains that the bill will take effect in 2024 and retailers of over 500 employees will be subject to fines if they do not establish a clearly marked gender-neutral section, which they may label at their own discretion.
Retailers will still be allowed to market toys specifically for boys or girls, as long as the non-gender section is in place.
The bill was introduced by LGBT champion Assemblyman Evan Low, who said that it was necessary to “stop stigmatizing what’s acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids.”
“My hope is this bill encourages more businesses across California and the U.S. to avoid reinforcing harmful and outdated stereotypes,” he said.
“Part of it is to make sure if you’re a young girl that you can find a police car, fire truck, a periodic table or a dinosaur,” he told The Los Angeles Times. “And then similarly, if you’re a boy, if you’re more artistic and want to play with glitter, why not? Why should you feel the stigma of saying, ‘Oh, this should be shamed’ and going to a different location?”
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