"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," reported Yahoo News.
So "they" and "them" becomes singular which, of course requires a singular, not a plural, verb, something that the City Council may have overlooked. So I'm guessing that the headline above will be the correct way for these, thems and those to talk.
The list of masculine and feminine terms that are being mandated in the city code to become "gender neutral" are magnificently goofy. To see them all, go here.
So "brother" becomes "sibling," "manhole" becomes "maintenance hole," "sorority" and "fraternity" become "Collegiate Greek system residence,” "sportsman" becomes "hunters" (making golfers, ball players and all athletes hunters, I suppose), "journeyman" becomes "journey" (corrupting the meaning of journeyman), and "maiden" becomes "family" (Uh?).
Wait, there's more:
All gendered pronouns within the BMC [Berkley Municipal Code] that refer back to a title of office, employment or descriptor found in Table 1 shall be replaced by the subjective, objective or possessive form of the that title of office, employment or descriptor, as the case may be.
Gobbledygook. To make it clearer, here are a few examples: Whenever you find "He, She, Him, Her, Himself, Herself" in the existing code, you must replace it with such descriptives as "The Alternate member," "The Dealer," "The Detainee," "The Pawn broker" and the "The Public records officer."
Something tells me that whatever mishmash the council makes of the city's code, they'll (pl.) be tripping over their tongues if they try to talk that way. Should make for an interesting follow-up story, but we probably won't be seeing it because such a story would be considered offensive.
My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812
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