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North Myrtle Beach leaders to vote on use of gender-neutral language in city codes

North Myrtle Beach
North Myrtle Beach
Updated: Jan. 31, 2021 at 6:08 PM EST
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The City of North Myrtle Beach will discuss a proposed ordinance involving the use of gender-neutral language within the city’s Code of Ordinances this week.

The agenda for Monday states “Codes of Ordinances in many cities, including North Myrtle Beach, primarily contain masculine pronouns (he, him, his, etc.) when referencing gender. This is not because cities wish to perpetuate gender bias but because most ordinances precede the strong contemporary awareness of gender bias and a desire to eliminate it.”

Examples of the change would include changing “firemen to firefighters” and “chairman” to “chairperson.”

North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley said people on staff noticed how many cities including North Myrtle Beach, use this kind of masculine language. She said updating this would be a way to modernize.

Hatley said they don’t want anyone to feel as if they’re perpetuating a gender bias. By using gender-neutral language, Hatley explained it would be a way for them to convey inclusivity.

The mayor also says she thinks this is more of a housekeeping issue and that it should pass. Hatley says if passed, it would be a step forward if other municipalities with dated language also move forward in the same way.

“A lot of our ordinances are old, we have always spoken in the male gender instead of male and female and that’s not the way it is anymore,” said Hatley.

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