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Wednesday, May 22, 2019
HomePolitics and PolicyIn Fairbanks, gender is disappearing from the books

In Fairbanks, gender is disappearing from the books

The men and women of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly on Thursday night adopted an ordinance that removes gender-specific pronouns and replaces them with grammatically incorrect pronouns in city code.

They’re going to use pronouns they hope won’t offend.

  • “He” and “She” is now called a “They.”
  • “His” and “Hers” possessive is now to be known as “Their.”
  • “Him” and “Her” would now be a “Them.”

The Assembly voted unanimously to make the change to lessen the chance that someone might not feel included because of the use of a binary gender pronoun.

The ordinance No. 2019-09 amends the borough’s code of ordinances to “modify any and all masculine and/or feminine language to gender neutral pronounces; and to amend FNSBC 1.04.080 regarding gender.”

The change to using singular gender pronouns like “They” is, of course, grammatically incorrect. It also creates yet another grammar problem:

Do you follow the now-singular word “They” with “is,” as in “They is”? Or do you write “They are,” when referring to a singular person?

None of it is clear, but in 2017, the Associated Press added “They” as a singular pronoun to its AP Style Book, while advising people to try to write around the awkwardness.

But it likely will lead to confusion and misunderstanding, even in city code.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE GRAMMAR NIGHTMARE

Consider, for a moment, this sentence found in a story in today’s Boston Globe about a murder:

“Jassy Correia loved to get her toddler daughter all dressed up and take her to Flames restaurant in Grove Hall to sit and eat oxtails together. They zoomed down slides at the playground, lay in bed and goofed around taking videos, and watched “Enchanted” and “Baby Shark.”

“When Correia’s friends called her on FaceTime, sometimes they would see her sweet little lookalike Gabriella, and Correia laughing nearby. She was a good mother, family and friends said — it was the most important thing to her. Correia, 23, had built her life around her child, who just turned 2. She had their future planned out.

“On Friday, the day after her body was found in a man’s car trunk in Delaware, authorities disclosed that Correia had been mutilated after leaving a Boston nightclub early Sunday morning. They announced that a Providence engineer had been charged with “kidnapping, failure to report death, and mutilation of a dead body.’’

Now, to put the story in the new Fairbanks North Star Borough gender-neutral style:

“Jassy Correia loved to get their toddler daughter all dressed up and take them to Flames restaurant in Grove Hall to sit and eat oxtails together. They zoomed down slides at the playground, lay in bed and goofed around taking videos, and watched “Enchanted” and “Baby Shark.”

“When Correia’s friends called them on FaceTime, sometimes they would see their sweet little lookalike Gabriella, and Correia laughing nearby. They was a good mother, family and friends said — it was the most important thing to them. Correia, 23, had built them life around them’s child, who just turned 2. They had their future planned out.

“On Friday, the day after their body was found in a man’s car trunk in Delaware, authorities disclosed that Correia had been mutilated after leaving a Boston nightclub early Sunday morning. They announced that a Providence engineer had been charged with “kidnapping, failure to report death, and mutilation of a dead body.’’

There are just too many “they” references, forcing readers to slow down, piece together the meaning, and and take apart the sentences. In the end, there’s no making sense of the gender-neutral story.

Perhaps the good men and women of Fairbanks will reconsider before they commit further grammatical mutilations.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The end is near..

    Based on what I observed from Drew Phoenix’s “Remembrance Day” vidya next we’ll see calls for destigmatizing transgender dating as a means of reducing deaths.

    Drew blames society for high murder, suicide and poor health/mental hygiene of these them. Coming soon, midnight knocks on the door and a mandatory invitation to the nights festivities to demonstrate that we have nothing but love in our heart for they. It’ll be a Lot of “fun”.

  • Liberalism run amuck.

  • When will the stupidity stop? It’s time for the silent majority to have it’s voice heard.

    • I agree with Bill. Don’t these people making this stuff up have anything better to do?

    • If you speak against it you’ll lose your job. “1984” is their political guidebook.

  • So long as polisub elections are held when the Moon is in the 7th House and Jupiter lies with Mars, nobody will vote but supervoters, public employees, and interests with their hooves in the trough, and polisub governments will be dominated by leftists. If we can ever wrest the Legislature away from communists and quislings, we need to set one general election day for all regular elections in Alaska. Even with our lousy schools, the average Alaska can handle a somewhat longer and more complex ballot that everyone casts on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

  • Hello all of you good men in Fairbanks! This is what happens when you do nothing. Time to stand
    up in the public square and turn this mess around.

  • All the writer has to do to avoid being confusing is avoid using pronouns. If the writer is paid by the length of the writer’s article, the writer may even make more money. Then of course the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly would be forced to ban words such as “mother” and “daughter” in order to push the Assembly’s leftist agenda. Obviously clarity in ordinances isn’t part of the agenda.

  • I think there was a typo in the third paragraph of the gender neutral style writing, it says “their body was found in a man’s car trunk in Delaware” are you allowed to say “man” or is that a microagression? Should it say “their body was found in a them’s car trunk in Delaware”? What if the they or them decides that they them identify as a they they that day?

  • Dishonest journalism.

    Making an ordinance gender neutral does not affect issues outside of it.

  • Fairbanks Mayor Matherly did a bate and “switch” on the sex switchers. He vetoed Ordinance 6031, an attempt to give LGBTQ the upper hand in false discrimination charges. See, transsexuals do not rule the day.

  • Now them-theirs an id’er…

  • I love how liberals can resort to ‘science’ when it pertains to God. But then totally ignore it when it comes to simple HUMAN biology. Male or Female. Simple.

  • Fairbanks Republicans and conservatives holding a “thank you” rally for Mayor Matherly on Thursday, March 7th at 6pm in front of City Hall. Matherly vetoed the city Ordinance 6903 which would have allowed LGBTQ easy access to the courts for phoney discrimination suits. Hope that MRAK is there to report.