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Gov. Inslee Signs New Gender-Neutral Language Bill

Inslee signs new gender neutral language bill
(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Today Gov. Inslee signed into a law a bill that removes the words “men” or “women” in official state-generated literature of any kind.

For the next six years, taxpayer dollars will be spent combing through all of Washington state’s laws and statutes (some which date back to 1854) and removing gender-specific language. Seattle Senator Jeannie Kohl-Welles sponsored the bill and said this at the signing:

It brings us to modern times, to contemporary times. Why should we have in statute anything that could be viewed as biased or stereotypical or reflecting any discrimination?”

Welles has been working for this since 2007 when she was responsible for changing police and firemen to “police officers” and “firefighters.” This latest measure passed the House by a vote of 70-22 earlier this spring with all Democrats voting yes and Republicans split.

About half of the 50 states have already finished or are moving towards gender-neutral language in their laws and statutes. Some examples of gender-neutral language that we have seen changed:

  • chairman—to chairperson
  • secretary–to administrative assistant
  • stewardess–to flight attendant
  • waitress–to server
  • mailman–to letter carrier



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