Illinois Governor Signs Bill to Make Official Titles Gender-Neutral

llinois Governor J.B. Pritzker delivers remarks at the North America’s Building Trades Unions 2019 legislative conference in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2019. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker (D.) signed a bill this week to change the titles for elected officials in the state from “alderman” and “congressman” to “alderperson” and “congressperson” to be more gender-inclusive.

“We see a lot of ‘hes’ and ‘hims’” in state statute, said the bill’s co-sponsor, State Representative Maurice West (D).

“And now we have, you know, not just women in office, but we have people who may not identify with any gender,” he added. “We want to make sure that our voting and our election cycle process is inclusive for everyone.”

The change was included in Democratic legislation, first introduced in February, that amends Illinois’s state election code to postpone the 2022 Illinois primary until June. 

It comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) introduced new congressional rules in January to remove all mention of gender-specific pronouns and terms like “man,” “woman,” “mother” and “son.”

Pelosi’s new rule sparked backlash from Republicans, including House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy who wrote in a tweet, “This is stupid. Signed, – A father, son, and brother.”

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