There is a bill cruising through the California State Assembly, AB 1084, that will require retail stores that sell clothing, baby supplies, and toys to maintain a “gender neutral” section, i.e., a place “in which a reasonable selection of the items, articles, and toys for children it sells shall be displayed, regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.”

So what’s the point?

Social engineering, it would seem. According to the “findings” section of the bill, “Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.”

Inappropriate? Or simply marketed toward shoppers who believe that the labels simplify their search. And the fact that it only applies to children under 12 seems odd. Why isn’t California forcing everyone, including adults, to sort through racks of gender-neutral clothing? Could it be that there is more indoctrinating going on here than anything related to consumer needs?

Proponents and supporters of the bill tout this as only a good first step. According to our friends at the California Family Council (CFC), a Focus on the Family ally, the ultimate aim of the law’s proponents is to work toward a day when any signage that signals that a product is designed for “boys” or “girls” is outlawed.

According to CFC, during a recent hearing on the bill in the Assembly’s Judiciary committee, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, told the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, D-San Jose, “I like where you are going with this bill, but why don’t you combine all the girls’ and boys’ clothes with no designation. Let’s get rid of (gendered) labels while we are at it.”

Low’s response was telling. According to CFC, Low said he “would like to go this way,” but he was trying to be less “prescriptive” and let retailers make some of these decisions. 

Last year Low, the chair of the State Legislative LGBT Caucus, introduced an even more demanding bill that would have prohibited sections in stores labeled “boys” or “girls.” That bill did not progress because of the legislature’s prioritization of pandemic-related issues. But the issue is back and addition to the social engineering aspect of the bill, there’s another motive playing out behind the scenes that is as old as time – money-making.

A driving force behind AB 1084 this year, according to CFC, is a clothing entrepreneur named Rob Smith, who’s in the business of making and marketing a line of gender neutral clothes called “The Phluid Project.” CFC President Jonathan Keller says Smith stands to profit handsomely if the state forces retailers to buy the product he is selling.

“You have to give Rob Smith credit; he’s found quite an audacious marketing plan in asking Sacramento to force California retailers to make room for his products,” said Keller. “But activists and state legislators have no right to force retailers to espouse government-approved messages about gender. It’s a violation of free speech and it’s just plain wrong.”

AB 1084 has easily passed through two committees in the State Assembly and will be heard in a third soon.

If you live in California and would like to contact your Assembly member about AB 1084, you can do so from CFC’s website.

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