Berkeley to Replace ‘Manhole,’ Other Gender-Specific Language in City Code

Councilman stresses importance of transgender inclusivity

Image Credits: Aric Crabb/Digital First Media/Bay Area News via Getty Images.

City councilors in Berkeley, California, have approved changes to the municipal code which will see “gender preferential language,” such as ‘manhole’ and ‘patrolmen,’ replaced with “gender neutral” terms.

City Councilman Rigel Robinson, a 23-year-old who recently graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, co-sponsored the ordinance.

“According to Code Publishing Company, the Berkeley Municipal Code currently contains mostly masculine pronouns,” the proposal explains. “In recent years, broadening societal awareness of transgender and gender nonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity.”

In addition to replacing all references to “He, She, Him, Himself, Herself” in the existing code, an expandable list of “Gendered Terms” will be replaced, including: “Bondsman,” “Craftsmen,” “Fraternal,” “Manmade,” “Manhole,” and “Ombudsman.”

“Sorority” and “Fraternity” will be replaced by “Collegiate Greek system residence.”

The entire phrase, “The masculine pronoun includes the feminine,” will be replaced with “Words referring to a specific gender may be extended to any other gender.”

“Tonight, Berkeley City Council adopted first reading of an ordinance responding to my proposal revising the municipal code to include gender neutral pronouns,” Councilman Robinson tweeted after Tuesday’s vote. “There is power in language. This is a small move, but it matters.”

More recently, Councilman Robinson shared a screenshot of his response to an email received from a producer of Tucker Carlson Tonight inviting him to appear on the program.

“Unfortunately I won’t be able to come on the show,” Robinson wrote. “Tucker Carlson is a dangerous, xenophobic, racist, white supremacist goblin who I’m not interested in engaging with.”

Robinson also shared an image of himself appearing to be in attendance at a protest against the Trump administration, writing, “MFW there’s a fascist in the White House.”

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