The City Council voted unanimously to replace more than two dozen terms often used in the city’s municipal code with gender-neutral words. (Dreamstime/TNS)

‘Manholes’ are out as Berkeley removes gender-specific language from city code

City Council votes to replace terms in the city’s municipal code with gender-neutral words.

By Hannah Fry, Los Angeles Times

A manhole will become a maintenance hole, artisans will replace craftsmen and firefighters and police officers no longer will be identified by their gender in Berkeley’s city code under an ordinance passed by city leaders Tuesday.

The City Council voted unanimously to replace more than two dozen terms often used in the city’s municipal code with gender-neutral words.

“In recent years, broadening societal awareness of transgender and gender nonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity,” council member Rigel Robinson wrote in a letter to the council in March.

Berkeley’s current municipal code contains mostly masculine pronouns, according to a city staff report.

“It is both timely and necessary to make the environment of City Hall and the language of city legislation consistent with the principles of inclusion,” Robinson said.

Broadening social awareness of transgender and gender nonconforming identities has led to sweeping changes across the state.

In 2014, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that replaced “husband” or “wife” in state law with the gender-neutral term “spouse.” In 2017, California became the first state to provide a third gender option on state driver’s licenses, identification cards and birth certificates with the passage of Senate Bill 179.

Berkeley has also instituted some other changes. In February, the city began extending the option to all employees to receive a name badge with a preferred pronoun printed alongside their professional title.

Just Posted

Community-led efforts to monitor air quality in Bayview, Eastern neighborhoods gain traction

San Francisco community groups are working to install high-quality sensors in the… Continue reading

Fire department drill finds traffic around Chase Arena could slow response time

For years, some have feared the future home of the Golden State… Continue reading

Did Scoot ‘redline’ SF neighborhoods? Chinatown group says ‘we asked for it’

The talk of the transportation world is a Los Angeles Times story… Continue reading

New hires solve SF school crossing guard shortage — for now

San Francisco has gone on a school crossing guard-hiring binge, hoping to… Continue reading

SF sets a high bar for Lyft on electric bike rentals

Newly spelled out city requirements could open the door for other e-bike providers

Most Read