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Berkeley Goes Gender Neutral

Rebecca Corral
July 18, 2019 - 3:04 pm

All references to gender in Berkeley's municipal code, such as firemen and manholes, will be eliminated as the city council has voted to use only gender neutral language. 

Manholes will now be called maintenance holes. Manpower will be referred to as human effort. Sororities and fraternities become collegiate Greek system residences. Firemen shall be firefighters.

These are just some of ramifications from the city council's ordinance passed on Tuesday. 

"Some of it seemed to be quite reasonable, but there comes a point where you're pushing it past the line of credibility," said UC Berkeley linguistic professor Geoffrey Nunberg.

He cited laws and traditions that have created inclusive language.

"There's absolutley no reason not to replace 'he' with 'their'," Nunberg said. 

 The city has budgeted $600 to carry out the reforms.