Major California toy retailers without “gender-neutral” sections will be fined hundreds of dollars under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pro-LGBTQ bill.
Assembly Bill No. 1084, signed by Newsom in 2021, will be enacted on January 1, 2024, and will require stores that sell “childcare items or toys” for children aged 12 years or younger to display a gender-neutral section — or be fined up to $500.
Stores will be required by law to have designated gender-neutral toys “regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys,” the bill states.
The legislation will apply to retailers with 500 or more employees, and those who fail to comply will be “liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $250 for a first violation or $500 for a subsequent violation.”
The bill was originally introduced into the California Assembly by then-Assemblyman Evan Low (D-CA), who is now a representative in the U.S. Congress.
He celebrated Newsom signing the bill in a 2021 statement to the Associated Press, saying “We need 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“My hope is this bill encourages more businesses across California and the U.S. to avoid reinforcing harmful and outdated stereotypes,” Low said, adding that he was “incredibly grateful” for Newsom’s support on the bill.
When the assembly bill was first introduced, Lego released a statement saying that the company was working to make its products more inclusive for girls.
“The company is committed to making Lego play more inclusive and ensuring that children’s creative ambitions — both now [sic] in the future — are not limited by gender stereotypes,” the announcement reads.
The legislation has received backlash on social media, with some X users pointing out the irony of the situation by highlighting the lengths California retailers have had to go to reduce the out-of-control crime while lawmakers worry about “gender neutral toy aisles.”
Kevin Dalton illustrated that point on his X account.