Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles can't understand it. Why all the fuss, she wonders, about having the state of Washington use gender-neutral language?
The Seattle Democrat is perplexed that some people are making a big deal out of making 100 percent of the state's Revised Codes gender neutral, which is what her bill, SB 5077, will do. Since 2007, the senator has steered through six pieces of legislation which have changed the language of the law -- word by word.
And now, to the final 29 changes.The last slew of gender neutrality modifications include calling firemen fire tenders, fishermen fishers, ranchmen ranchers and gripmen grip operators.
Hardly anything to go to war over. Get a grip -- man. It's not as if we are going boldly where no, err, humanoid, has gone before. We're seeing an uptick in gender-neutral parenting, gender-neutral housing, gender-neutral baby bedding. Even Hasbro is on board, announcing last month it will begin making a gender neutral version of its Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven.
"Society has changed," Thalia Syracopoulos, president of women's rights group Seattle NOW, told KING TV. "Women are in high places and language is a very important expression of the changes in society."
Yesterday, Sen. Kohl-Welles recounted to The Daily Weekly the consternation that ensued after the subject was batted and battered around on The Dori Monson Show.
Unsurprisingly, the KIRO Radio talk-show host was in all his unpolitically correct glory as he ridiculed Kohl-Welles' gender neutral measure -- all of which convinced some of his listeners to call the senator's office in Olympia.
"People were so rude to my staff that I couldn't believe it," recalled the 18-year member of the state Legislature. "One of them said I should resign my office. Another said she knows a woman who was proud to be called a fireman."
Kohl-Wells speculates that one key reason some object to gender neutrality is "that I think there's a lot of people out there -- they're a minority -- who don't like to see anything that seems feminist."
Oh well, "No womyn is an island."