California Imposes Gender-Neutral Toy Sections for Large Retailers
LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) – California is now the first state in the country to require a gender-neutral children’s section at major retailers.
The new law requires stores with 500 or more employees to sell some of their toys or childcare products, such as toothbrushes, outside of traditional boys and girls sections. It does not prohibit traditional sections for boys and girls and does not include clothing.
The move is hailed as a victory for LGBTQ advocates who say traditional marketing methods pressure children to conform to gender stereotypes.
“Children have these years to find out who they are in their gender identity,” said one children’s advocate. “These years are hard enough without the boys and girls sections trying to shape their hearts into a little box.”
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Voices from both sides of the struggle were heard at a Judiciary Committee meeting earlier this year. Republicans and conservative opposition groups see this decision as yet another example of government overtaking.
“A customer’s subjective experience of feeling uncomfortable with the layout of a store… would subject that store to heavy penalties and fines,” said Matthew McReynolds, attorney at the Pacific Justice Institute.
Large retailers have until 2024 to implement the change or face fines of up to $ 500.
Lego also pledged to eliminate gender biases from its toys on Monday after a report found 71% of boys feared being ridiculed if they played with “girls’ toys.”
In 2015, Target announced that it would stop using gender-specific signs in its nearly 2,000 stores.