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Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan’s Bill Adding “Nonbinary” Option to Death Certificates Signed by Governor Newsom

In celebration of today’s International Nonbinary People’s Day, AB 439 has been signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, adding a nonbinary gender option on death certificates.

For immediate release:


Sacramento, CA –AB 439 has been signed by Governor Newsom. By adding a nonbinary option to death certificates this bill builds on the legislature’s work to make all legal documents accurate and affirming.

Sponsored by Equality California, AB 439 continues the recent efforts to codify inclusive language by adding nonbinary gender identity options to death certificates. Pro Tem Atkins has led this fight for inclusive language with SB 179 (2017) which added nonbinary gender identity options to driver’s licenses, birth certificates, and other official documents. By adding nonbinary options to death certificates, AB 439 ensures that nonbinary people are accurately represented and honored.

“I’m so thankful for the Governor’s signature and that this bill has become law. For far too long, nonbinary individuals have had their identities stolen from them upon their death. Forcing these individuals to be inaccurately identified, violates their right to equal treatment, and is simply unacceptable” said Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. “AB 439 ensures that nonbinary people will be respected and remembered as who they were.”

A survey this year by the Trevor Project found that 1 in 4 LGBTQ+ youth identifies as nonbinary, with a third of those using they/them pronouns exclusively. Nonbinary and trans youth who felt their pronouns were respected were half as likely to attempt suicide than peers who did not experience affirming language. These words matter and correct identification on legal documents is absolutely necessary.“

California has been a trailblazer when it comes to inclusive gender identity options on official documents — and today is no different,” said Equality California Legislative Director Tami A. Martin. “We applaud Governor Newsom for signing AB 439 into law, which adds ‘nonbinary’ as an option for gender identity on death certificates. Thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan and Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, California will continue to respect people’s gender identity in life and death.”

With the governor’s signature 439 has become law and continues California’s leadership in advancing equality.