Manholes will now be known as maintenance holes and craftsman will be replaced by artisan, after the Berkeley, California, City Council voted unanimously to revise the city’s municipal code with gender-neutral language.
Dozens of terms will be revised and the pronouns “they” and “them” will replace “he” and “she,” according to the new ordinance.
“In recent years, broadening societal awareness of transgender and gender nonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity,” Rigel Robinson, a member of the council and a co-sponsor of the ordinance, said in a letter to the mayor and city council.
The ordinance follows the city’s decision in February to allow city employees to add their preferred pronoun to their name badge.
“There is power in language,” Robinson said. “This is a small move, but it matters.”
Tonight, Berkeley City Council adopted first reading of an ordinance responding to my proposal revising the municipal code to include gender neutral pronouns. There is power in language. This is a small move, but it matters. #berkmtg https://t.co/njo58NYgNw— Rigel Robinson (@RigelRobinson) July 17, 2019
Other changes include adjusting “sorority and fraternity” to “collegiate Greek residents.” Man-made will become human-made, while pregnant women will be referred to as pregnant employees.
Lori Droste, another co-sponsor, addressed those who objected to the ordinance in a Twitter thread.
“We are not legislating how people talk to us but our message is that we serve people regardless of their gender," Droste said. "We are forgetting what govt service is all about. We are here to help and serve and be inclusive. And yes, Berkeley is a beacon of light in some dark times."
We are not legislating how people talk to us but our message is that we serve people regardless of their gender.— Lori Droste (@loridroste) July 19, 2019
We are forgetting what govt service is all about. We are here to help and serve and be inclusive. And yes, Berkeley is a beacon of light in some dark times.
Two other members of the council, Cheryl Davila and Ben Bartlett, also co-sponsored the ordinance.