✅ Gender-neutral toy sections

Image via iStock

By Grace Gedye 

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

AB 1084 would require large department stores that sell kids’ products to maintain a gender-neutral section of toys and child care items. Stores that do not comply would face a light penalty: a fine of up to $250 for first offenses, and a fine of up to $500 for second offenses. It’s carried by Democratic Assemblymembers Evan Low of San Jose and Cristina Garcia of Bell Gardens.

WHO SUPPORTS IT

The Phluid Project, which partners with brands to distribute gender-free clothing and accessories, argues that the bill will increase freedom of expression for children and parents. It’s also backed by Equality California and the Consumer Federation of California, which says that products marketed to girls often have higher price tags.

WHO’S OPPOSED

Socially conservative groups including the Capitol Resource Institute and California Family Council say it’s not the state’s role to mandate how stores market their products.  Retailers objected to an earlier version of the bill that included children’s clothing, a provision since removed from the bill.

WHY IT MATTERS

This bill might not radically alter Californians’ shopping experiences: Some large stores already organize their toys by type of product rather than by gender. But it’s a foot in the door for advocates who could push for bigger change in the future.

GOVERNOR’S CALL: ✅

Newsom signed the bill on Oct. 9.