Berkeley City Council Votes to Remove ‘Gendered Language’ from City Codes

A gender neutral sign is posted outside a bathroom on May 11, 2016 in Durham, North Carolina
Sarah D. Davis / Getty

The city council of Berkeley, California, voted to remove gendered language from city codes on Tuesday, replacing male or female pronouns with neutral or plural terms to promote “equality.”

According to the Berkeleyside local paper:

The item proposes a revision to the grammatical interpretation of Berkeley’s municipal code, which now mostly uses masculine pronouns. It would switch “he” and “she” to “they” and “them” and assume they/them indicates a single individual, “unless the context indicates the contrary.” 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.”

The measure would also change other terminology. “Manhole” would be changed to “maintenance hole,” “manpower” would be changed to “human effort” and “sorority” or “fraternity” would be changed to “collegiate Greek system residence,” according to the ordinance. In addition, gendered terms in the existing code such as he, she, him, her, himself, herself would be switched to specific nouns such as the architect, the attorney, the council member, the clerk, the driver and more.

Some other changes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, include:

  • “Brother” -> “sibling”
  • “Heirs” -> “beneficiaries”
  • “Journeyman” -> “journey”
  • “Master” -> “Captain,” “skipper,” “pilot,” “safety officer,” “central”
  • “Ombudsman” -> “ombuds,” “investigating officer”
  • “Pregnant” -> “pregnant employees”

The Chronicle quoted city council member Rigel Robinson, the sponsor of the new rules: “Gender-neutral language creates a lot of room to acknowledge that it’s not just men running the country.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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