Retailers Must Have Gender-Neutral Areas ... OR ELSE

Mar 10, 2021

Retailers in California may have another controversial law to follow in 2023 if state lawmakers have their way. Assembly Member Evan Low, who serves as chair of the Legislative LGBT Caucus, and Assembly Member Christina Garcia proposed the bill, AB-2826, which demands retailers place products in gender-neutral retail departments.

If the bill becomes law, shoppers in Target or Walmart, for instance, will head to one general area to find a Frozen figure or Easy Bake Oven for a girl or a T-Rex or Tonka truck for a boy. If they are looking for an Easter dress for a girl, they may, in fact, find themselves browsing next to a shopper looking for a dress for a gender-confused boy.

If passed, the law would require a department store with 500 or more employees to maintain undivided areas of its sales floor where childcare items, children’s clothing and toys are displayed, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either boys or girls. Beginning in January 2023, the law would make a department store that receives written notice of a violation from the attorney general but fails to correct it within 30 days liable for a civil penalty of $1,000.

California stores that sell products online also would be required to offer the products they sell on their websites in “kids,” “unisex” or “gender-neutral” format.

Many retailers across the U.S. are already implementing “gender-neutral” options in their stores without such laws.

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