Democrats propose ban on 'he' and 'she' and all gender-specific words in new rules for Congress
Republicans have condemned a Democrat plan to eliminate gender-specific pronouns such as "he" and "she" from the rules of the US House of Representatives.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House, announced the proposal as a "bold and future-focused" move, and said it would make the lower chamber of Congress the "most inclusive in history" for transgender and nonbinary people.
The move would do away with any gender-specific references, such as "man", "woman", "husband" or "wife" in the 45-page text of the rules that will govern the House during the 117th Congress, which convenes on Sunday.
Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, wrote on Twitter: "This is stupid. Signed - A father, son, and brother".
Kelly Loeffler, the Republican senator standing for re-election in Georgia on Tuesday, added: "The far-left’s priorities, everyone. If you’d like to still be able to call yourself a father, daughter, mother or son, vote for me on Tuesday. Sincerely, A Proud Daughter."
Democrats said the aim was to "ensure we are inclusive of all members and their families - including those who are nonbinary."
References to "father" and "mother" would be replaced by "parent", while "son' and "daughter" would become "child".
Mentions of "brother" and "sister" would become "sibling". Aunts and uncles would be changed to "parent's sibling".
Other changes would include altering "submit his or her resignation" to "resigns", "chairman" becoming "chair", and "seaman" being changed to "seafarer".
The proposal was put forward by the Democrat-led House rules committee, which is sometimes known as the "traffic cop of the House", and backed by Ms Pelosi.
The committee said its intention was to "honour all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender-neutral."
Ms Pelosi said it was a "visionary rules package which reflects the views and values of the full range of our historically diverse House Democratic majority."
She added: "These proposals reflect our priorities as a caucus and as a country."
The rules package also includes establishing a House Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
It will be voted on in the first few days of the new Congress. Democrats will hold a slim majority of about 10 in the 435-member House.
The proposal also included other measures such as banning members of the House and their staff from spreading "manipulated media" like "deepfakes".
Ms Pelosi is facing the challenge of getting enough of her party to turn up in person during the pandemic to ensure she is re-elected as Speaker at the start of the new session.
In the new Congress she will lead a group of House Democrats that includes an increasingly vocal left wing.
Elise Stefanik, a Republican congresswoman from New York, told the New York Post: "Instead of reviving the economy, restoring our Constitutional freedoms and delivering results for the American people, Speaker Pelosi has chosen her debut legislation - which would ban words like mother, sister and daughter."
Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican congresswoman, added: "Here’s a gender neutral word to describe this legislation: ridiculous."
Another recently elected Republican congresswoman wrote on Twitter: "Blatant denial of truth and attack on families!"