New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill Thursday replacing the word “salesman” with “salesperson,” moving the state away from “gendered language.”
In addition to replacing the word “salesman,” Senate Bill 536 replaces instances of the pronouns “his” or “her” with “their” in New York legislation.
“This legislation amends Real Property Tax Law Article 12-a to change the word salesman to salesperson,” the bill says.
“Further this legislation removes gendered language from the Article by removing references to ‘his or her’ in favor of ‘their,’ changes ‘himself’ to ‘themselves,’ as well as appropriate changes to variations of these words,” it continues.
It was sponsored by state Sen. Anna Kaplan of Nassau and Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell of Manhattan.
“Jobs have no gender, but unfortunately, many of our state’s laws still use gendered language when discussing professions that are practiced by people of all genders,” said Kaplan.
“It’s important that we update these antiquated sections of the law to reflect our New York values and send a message that everyone, regardless of gender, should be able to pursue their passions,” she continued.
“We want our workplaces to reflect the diversity of New York, and the best way to achieve that goal is by making sure all realtors feel that they belong and the profession is accessible,” O’Donnell said in his statement.
He added that “People of all professions deserve to feel valued, but gendered language in our real property law fails to adequately recognize the contributions of women and non-binary New Yorkers.”
Thursday’s bill is just one of the several language-related bills the New York state government has recently passed.
On Wednesday, Hochul approved a bill sponsored by state Sen. Samra Brouk of Rochester and Carrie Woerner of Saratoga.
Their bill removes gendered references to office-holders in legislative bodies. For example, “councilman” would be replaced with “council member.”
Another law has changed “inmate” to “incarcerated person.”
“Welcome to Democrat-controlled New York … Where the ‘incarcerated individuals’ are running the asylum,” said Michael Fraser, a spokesman for Republican Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay.
The term “mentally retarded” was also removed in favor of “developmentally disabled.”
“There is no place for the ‘R’ word in our vocabulary and certainly not in our laws,” said state Sen. Roxanne Persaud.
“Numerous sections of New York State law [describe] people with disabilities as being mentally retarded. We’ve evolved from that. That is a stigma that we can move away from,” Hochul said in a statement.