California city set to ban gendered words like 'manhole' and 'manpower'

The City Council in Berkeley, Calif., voted this week to ban gender-specific words in the liberal city’s municipal code, clearing the way for the changes to become official.

As a result of the vote on the proposed ordinance, the word “manhole” would be changed to “maintenance hole” in city documents, the news site Berkeleyside reported. “Human effort” would be substituted for the word “manpower,” and “sorority” or “fraternity” would be changed to “collegiate Greek system residence.”

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Violence at Pro-Trump march in Berkeley, California

A demonstrator in opposition of U.S. President Donald Trump sets a hat on fire during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

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An injured demonstrator walks away after a "People 4 Trump" rally turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

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A man is pulled away from a scuffle as scattered fights break out between supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

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A bloodied supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen after a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-protest turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) scuffles with a counter-protester during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

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A demonstrator falls to the ground as a fight breaks out during a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-demonstrations in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

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A police officer gestures as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and counter-protesters scuffle during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

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A bloodied supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen after a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-protest turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A man (L) punches a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump swings a stick towards a group of counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Counter-demonstrators (L) and supporters (R) of U.S. President Donald Trump fight for a U.S. flag during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

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Two supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump are seen wearing U.S. flags during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) swings a stick towards a counter-protester during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump swings a stick towards a group of counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

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When introduced, the authors of the new ordinance wrote that they were putting the measure forth so as to “promote equality.”

“Amending the municipal code to include gender-neutral pronouns by eliminating any gender preference language within the municipal code will promote equality,” according to text explaining the rationale.

The measure has been placed on the city’s consent calendar, which means it is expected to be approved without further debate. Berkeley would then ban printed references in its municipal code to “policemen” and “craftsmen,” substituting the words “police officer” and “craftspeople” instead.

The new ordinance would eliminate the use of masculine and feminine pronouns in the municipal code. Instead of “he” and “she,” the city will use “they” and “them.”

Under the heading "Gender," the amended code will read as follows:

“Whenever a personal pronoun is used in the neutral gender, it shall be deemed to include the feminine and masculine also. ‘They/them’ shall indicate a singular individual, unless the context indicates the contrary.”

The estimated cost for implementing the new ordinance is $600, the city said.

Council member Rigel Robinson, who proposed the new measure, celebrated the vote.

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