Monday, 16 December, 2019

Berkeley bans gender-specific words from city code

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Deanna Wagner | 19 July, 2019, 17:03

ME and Washington D.C. have also made moves to recognize gender-neutral individuals on drivers licenses.

The rationale for this change states: "Amending the municipal code to include gender-neutral pronouns by eliminating any gender preference language within the municipal code will promote equality".

Berkeleyside reports that the measure, which was sponsored by Council members Rigel Robinson, Cheryl Davila, Ben Bartlett and Lori Droste, passed on Tuesday, and will now be referred to city staff for further refining. Instead of "manpower", city code must now say either "human effort" or "workforce".

"Tonight, Berkeley City Council adopted first reading of an ordinance responding to my proposal revising the municipal code to include gender neutral pronouns", Robinson wrote.

"There's power in language", Robinson said.

The full list of changed words is reminiscent of the decades-old move to change words that typically end in "-man" to ending with "-person", such as "salesperson" instead of "salesman".

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German municipalities have taken similar steps to embrace gender equal terminology.

Soon, there will be no more manholes in the city of Berkeley, California. Gendered pronouns, such as "he" and "she" will also be replaced with "they".

'Broadening societal awareness of transgender and gender-nonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity....'

'Therefore, it is both timely and necessary to make the environment of City Hall and the language of city legislation consistent with the principles of inclusion'.

Silly Sara, thinking homelessness is more important than referring to "manholes" as "maintenance holes". The state became the first to allow residents to use nonbinary gender markers on birth certificates, and the second after OR to allow gender markers other than "F" for female and "M" for male on driver's licenses.

It will cost the city about $600 to make the changes.