'Manpower' to become 'human effort' as Berkeley plans to remove all gendered language from city code
Berkeley, California, is moving forward with a plan that will see the city remove all gendered language from its city code as part of its concerted effort to recognize its nonbinary residents.
On Tuesday, July 16, the city council adopted the first reading of a new ordinance which has eliminated "gender preference language" in its municipal code, according to NBC Bay Area.
What this means, in effect, is personal pronouns such as "he," "she," "him," and "her," will instead be replaced by gender-neutral language such as "they" and "them."
The new ordinance will also see quite a few other words eliminated from the city code as well.
"Manholes" will be called "maintenance holes"; "firemen" will become "firefighters"; "brother" will become "sibling"; "manmade" will be "artificial"; "manpower" is now "human effort"; and all instances of "men" and "women" will be replaced by "people."
The charge to have the changes enacted were led by Berkley's youngest city council member Rigel Robinson, who was the bill's primary author and who said they are important because "language has power."
"It is Berkeley being Berkeley, and what that means is it’s Berkeley being inclusive," Robinson was quoted saying. "A male-centric municipal code doesn’t reflect the reality of the city of Berkeley."
"Women and non-binary individuals are just as entitled to accurate representation," she continued. "Our laws are for everyone, and our municipal code should reflect that."
While it was passed without comment or discussion on Tuesday, the ordinance to make the changes will be reviewed again next week.
If the council approves it, it will come into effect in August and the changes in the city code will cost $600.
The change will continue a trend that has seen California, the most populous state in the country, keep up its reputation as a bastion of progressivism.
In November 1996, it became the first state in the country to legalize medical marijuana, following which, 20 years later, in November 2016, the sale and distribution of it was legalized as well.
Then, in 2017, in a move that could be seen as a precursor to the changes about to be implemented in Berkeley, California became the first state to allow nonbinary gender markers on birth certificates.
The same year, it also became the second state, behind Oregon, to allow residents to be identified by a gender marker other than "M" or "F" on their driver's licenses.