Patrick May, The Mercury News
Building upon its rich and, at times, head-scratching legacy of being one of America’s deepest pocket of progressivism, Berkeley’s leaders plan to get rid of every speck of gendered language they can find in their governmental playbook.
And they’re starting with, you guessed it . . . manhole.
After the City Council adopted the first reading of the new ordinance this week, Berkeley could soon replace any references to ”he” or ”she” in the civil code with ”they,” part of the city’s campaign to recognize its nonbinary residents.
The effort was led by City Council member Rigel Robinson, who told NBC Bay Area “it is Berkeley being Berkeley, and what that means is it’s Berkeley being inclusive. A male-centric municipal code doesn’t reflect the reality of the city of Berkeley.”
Berkeleyside reported that the change to the city code will cost $600.
The current code mostly uses masculine pronouns, but both ”he” and ”she” will be switched to ”them” and “they” under the new rules, “unless the context indicates the contrary,” the ordinance’s draft says. The reason behind this? “Amending the municipal code to include gender-neutral pronouns by eliminating any gender preference language within the municipal code will promote equality,” according to the city council agenda item.
Here’s a sampling of some of that “gender preference language” that will soon be purged from city documents and the new words that will replace the banned ones.
Manholes become ”maintenance holes”
Firemen become “firefighters”
Manmade becomes “artificial”
Men and women become “people”
Manpower becomes “human effort”
Sorority and fraternity become “collegiate Greek system residences”
Bondsman becomes “bonds-person”
Brother becomes “sibling”
Chairman becomes “chairperson”
Manufactured becomes ”machine-made”
Ombudsman becomes ”ombuds”
Policeman or woman become “police officer”
Pregnant woman becomes “pregnant employee”
Watchmen become “guards”
You can see the full list here.
Reaction on social media, not surprisingly, was all over the map.
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