A new California law will require all major retailers with a minimum of 500 employees and a brick-and-mortar shop to have gender-neutral toy aisles. Assembly Bill No. 1084 went into effect on Monday, January 1, and requires stores “to maintain a gender-neutral section or area to be labeled at the discretion of the retailer.”
According to pro-LGBT outlet Advocate, the Bill stems from a conversation American politician Evan Low had with an 8-year-old who asked him why a store should tell her what a girl’s shirt or toy is. Low then dedicated the bill to the child.
“Her Bill will help children express themselves freely and without bias. We need to let kids be kids,” Low explained.
While some, like Alameda-based toy store owner Helen Dean, whose small shop is not impacted by the law, says she supports the legislation, others, like California Family Council President Jonathan Keller, are calling the Bill “a little crazy.”
“We should all have compassion for individuals experiencing gender dysphoria,” he said. “But activists and state legislators have no right to force retailers to espouse government-approved messages about sexuality and gender. It’s a violation of free speech, and it’s just plain wrong.”
Speaking with ABC7, Keller added: “Sacramento seems so content on breaking down the distinctions and differences between men and women, boys and girls. It’s not enough that we are having general-neutral bathrooms, we’re even having to extend that to the toy section.”
Agreeing, many took to social media to question the legislation. One X (formerly Twitter) user who goes by the handle @steiner4791 wrote: “How ridiculous. This doesn’t help anyone, it’s just more virtue-signaling nonsense. Now stores have to worry about getting in trouble if [they] put all the dolls in the same aisle. No wonder people are fleeing CA.”
Pointing out the unnecessary nature of the Bill, another wrote: “Kids want the toys they want. This is utterly pointless.
Sharing his sentiments, another X user who goes by the handle @julieragland wrote, sarcastically:
“Because it was so hard buying ‘gender neutral’ toys before. California has a lot of problems that need attention. This wasn’t one of them.”
The Bill passed in September 2021, was signed into law by Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom the following month. Any stores failing to abide by the law may be subject to an initial penalty of $250 and up to $500 if other infractions occur.