Salem City Council Debates Use Of 'Manhole' And Other Gender-Specific Words

SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Salem City Council had a debate on Thursday to reexamine it's use of gendered language -- including some words you might not think of.

The council voted in favor of removing hundreds of gender-specific words from official city ordinances and zoning rules -- like changing the word "chairman" to "chair" or "chairperson."

But there was one notable exception that survived the change: manhole.

According to Salem News, an objection came from City Councilor Tim Flynn, who serves as a lieutenant in the Salem Fire Department.

Flynn said changing the word to "maintenance cover" instead of manhole would create confusion among first responders who are answering calls in the city.

City-Councilor-At-Large Ty Hapworth commented on the discussion, saying "I don't know if I want the headline on this in The Salem News to say, 'we did gender-neutral language -- except for manhole."

The council eventually voted to keep an exception in place for the word manhole for clarity purposes.

WBZ NewsRadio's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) reports.

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Written by Rachel Armany

Photo: (Getty Images)

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