Evers and the English language

Wisconsin Right Now:

Gov. Tony Evers has officially declared war on pronouns.

Despite all of the other crises facing the state (violent crime in Milwaukee, for example), Evers is spending his time ordering state agencies to use “gender-neutral terms and pronouns” and to write any documents in a way that eliminates “the need for pronouns.”

In an executive order issued June 1, 2021, the governor also ordered state agencies to avoid “making any reference to gendered family relations.” The governor also banned “superfluous gendered words” whenever “practicable.”

“Gov. Evers signed Executive Order #121 and directed Evers Administration cabinet agencies to use gender-neutral language whenever practicable in external documents, including but not limited to: using gender-neutral terms and pronouns, drafting to eliminate the need for pronouns, omitting superfluous gendered words, and making any reference to gendered family relations,” the press release from Evers says.

The executive order says “once-conventional use of gender-specific language is imprecise, anachronous, and contravenes Wisconsinites’ interests.” His order includes “administrative rules, guidance documents, manuals, websites, and similar documents.”

However, we caught Evers violating his own pronoun rule, admittedly before he issued the executive order. But his office hasn’t changed the references to put him in compliance with his own mandate. For example, his office referred to a military hero, Maj. Gen. James G. Blaney, with the words “he” and “his” in a recent press release. We’re guessing that would have been fine with Maj. Gen. Blaney, who “mobilized to federal service in 1961 with the 32nd Infantry Division during the Berlin Crisis, and served as the Adjutant General of the State of Wisconsin from 1997 to 2002.”

Evers’ new executive order is silent on which pronouns should be used to avoid gendered pronouns or avoid making “reference to gendered family relations.”

Not to mention, on his campaign website, Evers, referred to himself as a “he” and a “father.” In a letter on the State of Wisconsin website, he referred to his “wife.” He referred to himself as a he/his four times in his official bio on the state website.

It occurred to us that the state Department of Corrections, a state agency, has separate prisons for women and men. What are they going to do in the new gender-less Tony Evers’ administration?


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