Virginia House Won’t Call People ‘Ladies’ And ‘Gentlemen’ Anymore


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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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The Virginia House of Delegates plans to no longer use “ladies” and “gentleman” when referring to delegates in the house, a Republican lawmaker announced Tuesday.

House Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox plans to implement the change requiring that all representatives are referred to as “delegate” should Republicans keep control of the Virginia House, reported The Washington Post Wednesday. The party is still waiting for three races to be called.

“All members will be afforded the same respect and courtesy that this nearly 400-year-old institution commands,” Parker Slaybaugh, a spokesman for Cox, said. “Speaker-designee Cox believes the ‘gentlelady’ and ‘gentleman’ terminology is outdated, and that referring to everyone as ‘delegate’ is more timely and appropriate.”

The decision to drop gendered language comes as the Virginia House gains Danica Roem, the state’s first openly transgender representative. Roem, a man who now identifies as a woman, beat out a conservative candidate who once introduced a bill banning transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice.

Conservatives praised Cox’s suggestion as a way to avoid a situation where they have to decide how to address Roem, while liberals said the move was “shameful” and an attempt to not have to call Roem a “woman.”

“If Danica Roem had not won the election we would still be doing the same thing we have done for 400 years: calling each other gentleman or gentlelady. It’s unfortunate that we, in effect, have to single out her election, as unique as it is,” Democrat lawmaker Kenneth Plum told the outlet.

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