Gendered language like ‘manhole’ will soon be banned from Berkeley’s city codes

Gendered language like ‘manhole’ will soon be banned from one city’s codes	 	 	 			Getty image

The Berkeley ordinance includes a list of gendered terms in existing city code and the new gender-neutral terms that can be used to replace them.

23-year-old Rigel Robinson introduced the order to change all official city documents from containing any words related to man, woman, boy, or girl or any possible language related to the two genders.

In a tweet, Mr Robinson said the ordinance, which was adopted on its first reading, was important because "there's power in language". "It's not only timely, but necessary to make sure that our laws really speak for everyone".

A bondsman will become a "bondsperson". That means many professions such as firemen and firewomen will simply be "firefighters", and "brothers" and "sisters" will instead be "siblings".

Heirs is changed to beneficiaries. Here's looking at you "human effort", the network added.

We found a mix of reactions to these changes. "Manhole" will now be "maintenance hole". "I'm sure it wouldn't hurt anybody", said one resident.

But not everyone was on the same page.

"No. Uh... I think it would remain the same".

The measure would also change other terminology. "Come on. Enough is enough", Andrew Haits remarked. "Enough is enough", he snickered. The reason why they're gender separated is because they are gender separated.

"Sorority" and "fraternity" would change to "collegiate Greek system residence".

Berkeley's municipal code uses mostly male pronouns, such as "he", but the new code will switch from he and she to "they" when referring to individuals.

The University of California, Berkeley, was once known as the birthplace of the 1960s free-speech movement, but violent protests against conservative speakers on campus in recent years seemingly put a blemish on the school's lofty status as a haven for unfettered expression.

According to NBC News, the measure will be reviewed again next week, and changes would go into effect in late August.

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