Blue State Demands Gender Neutral Toys Now

Photo by Maulana Rufiansyah on Unsplash

( – Starting January 1, a new law in California will introduce a significant change for large retail stores with over 500 employees. This legislation, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2021, mandates these stores to establish a “gender-neutral” section for toys and childcare items. The focus is on products for children aged 12 and under. Non-compliance with this requirement will result in a $500 penalty.

Childcare items, as defined by the law, include products designed for children’s sleep, relaxation, feeding, as well as those aiding in sucking or teething. While the law doesn’t prohibit traditional boys’ and girls’ sections, it insists on the addition of a gender-neutral area.

This law has sparked debate, with Greg Burt from the California Family Research Council expressing concerns over what he perceives as a violation of the First Amendment. He argues that the law could force businesses, including those owned by religious individuals, to use specific language in advertising that may conflict with their beliefs. Burt fears this could lead to government overreach in regulating store signage and expressions.

However, many stores are already adapting to these requirements, as reported by a toy store owner in Los Angeles. The law aims to challenge traditional marketing strategies that separate items based on gender, which it suggests could hinder product comparison and perpetuate gender stereotypes.

The enforcement of this law will involve potential civil penalties, ranging from $250 to $500 for repeated violations, and will be overseen by the state attorney general, district attorneys, or city attorneys.

Supporters of the legislation, including its author, California lawmaker Evan Low, believe that this move is crucial in eliminating gender discrimination and breaking down stereotypes. Low hopes that this bill will prompt more businesses, not just in California but nationwide, to stop reinforcing outdated gender norms and let children freely choose their toys without the influence of gender stereotypes.

This legislative action in California comes amidst a broader societal debate on gender issues, as highlighted by recent boycotts against stores marketing transgender-related products. The discussion continues to evolve, reflecting changing perspectives on gender roles and expression in society.

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