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Berkeley Eliminates Gendered Words Like ‘Manhole’, ‘Policeman’, ‘Pregnant Woman’

A 'manhole' will now be a 'maintence hole' in the City of Berkeley codes after city council passes ordinance

Berkeley, CA – The city of Berkeley has dropped words from city codes that refer to any type of gender so words like “manhole” and “manpower” will be deleted and replaced with “maintenance hole” and “workforce.”

Also, “he” and “she” will also be replaced with “they” and “craftsmen” will be referred to as “craftspeople” or “artisans,” according to KTLA.

The Berkeley City Council unanimously approved measure on July 17 to replace more than two dozen common terms, KTLA reported.

Councilmember Rigel Robinson, a 23-year-old graduate from California-Berkeley was a sponsor of the ordinance.

“In recent years, broadening societal awareness of transgender and gender nonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity,” said Robinson in a letter to the mayor and city council, according to ABC News.

In February, the city of Berkeley allowed city employees to add their preferred pronoun to their name badges, ABC News reported.

“There is power in language,” Robinson said, according to ABC News. “This is a small move, but it matters.”

Other changes include making “sorority and fraternity” into “collegiate Greek residents.” Pregnant women would be referred to as pregnant employees.

Councilmember Lori Droste, who also sponsored the ordinance, responded to critics on Twitter.

“We are not legislating how people talk to us but our message is that we serve people regardless of their gender,” Droste said, according to ABC News. “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.”

Berkeleyside reported a list of the words to be changed.

Other terms included changing “brother” and “sister” to “sibling”; “Bondsman” to “Bonds-person”; “Policeman, Policewoman” to “Police Officer”; “Male” and “Female” to “people of different genders.”

The cost to update the city code is estimated to be $600.

Tom Gantert - July Sun, 2019


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