Berkeley City Council adopted an ordinance recently that replaces gender-suggestive language with gender-neutral terms in the city’s municipal code in order to encourage inclusivity.
The workers of the local government will no longer be able to use “he” and “she”. Instead, male and female coworkers will be referred to collectively in the third-person as “they” and “them”.
The legislation passed unanimously among council members on its first reading, and it will also see the thousands of city’s manhole covers transformed into “maintenance holes”.
The city also instructed people to use the word “craftspeople” instead of “craftsmen”.
A memo for the motion explains that broadening societal awareness of transgender and gender-nonconforming identities have brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity. So, the memo reads that it’s both timely and necessary to make the environment of City Hall and the language of city legislation consistent with the principles of inclusion.
Tuesday’s motion became the first of its kind to pass in the US, and more than two dozen of frequently used terms will be changed in the city code when the measure is fully implemented.
Such changes include the terms “manpower”, “man-made”, etc.
The sponsor of the ordinance is a 23-year-old recent graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, councilman Rigel Robinson.
He says that his time in college expanded his awareness of gender issues, and he said that gender-neutral language creates a lot of room to acknowledge that it’s not just men running the country.