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A Gender-Neutral County Code is One Step Closer

Summary

The council has passed legislation to take another step in removing gendered terms wherever possible from the King County code.

Story

The council has passed legislation to take another step in removing gendered terms wherever possible from the King County code.

“Words matter and language that accurately references gender and our diverse roles in society is a small but important step towards building a more inclusive and understanding King County,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

The effort began in 2016 after Kohl-Welles, Councilmember Claudia Balducci, and others placed a measure on the ballot that was overwhelmingly approved by county voters. Today’s ordinance is the second piece of legislation designed toward achieving that goal.

The ordinance replaces gendered pronouns such as he, him, she, or her with the title of the subject in impacted sentences. For example “he” could be converted to the position’s title such as “director.” The ordinance will also take the gendered pronoun out of terms such as “workmanship” which could be converted to “quality of work.”

The legislation is consistent with legislation adopted at the state level in both 1983 and 2007, which were also sponsored by then-Senator Kohl-Welles.
“The voters have spoken; they want to see the King County Code reflect the inclusive values of our community,” said Councilmember Balducci. “With this action, we taking the next step to advance King County’s values of fairness and inclusiveness by reflecting them in our governing documents.”

This is the second of four revisions of the county code. The last two ordinances are tentatively scheduled to be acted on by council this spring.
Contact the Council
Main phone:
206-477-1000
TTY/TDD:
206-296-1024
Email:
council@kingcounty.gov