LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An executive order signed at the Arkansas State Capitol on Thursday began drawing strong mixed reactions as it will remove what Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls “woke” and “anti-women” language from state documents.
Although the Governor said the language order was signed in defense of women, several people with Central Arkansas Pride say it’s highly exclusive and makes them feel like they’re no longer seen.
“We’re taking a stand against woke nonsense,” the order by Sanders stated.
Non-gender-specific terms for childbearing have been used in describing transgender and non-binary people participating in the child-bearing process.
Some of the banned words from state eliminated from state departments, offices, boards, and commissions, Sanders deems as “ridiculous.”
“Those include words like pregnant people, laboring person, birth giver and several other nonsense terms,” the Governor said.
The executive order is titled “Executive Order to Eliminate Woke, Anti-Women Words from State Government And Respect Women.”
However, Dolores Wilk who is the Executive Director for Central Arkansas Pride says removing those terms are highly exclusionary.
“Birthing is done by non-binary people such as myself, trans-men and other genders,” Wilk said. “I feel like a second class citizen with this type of language and I am here fighting today for my non-binary and trans-community.”
Some of the terms in the executive order include changes from pregnant people to pregnant women and birth giver to woman, and much more.
The Governor says there was one specific instance at the Arkansas Health Department and her office has a number of other instances come in where reports of the words she deems as “nonsense” have been documented.
Despite that, Joe Johnson who is the communications director for Central Arkansas Pride says that does not make the term changes right.
“When we go down this road where we use language to drive exclusion, that exclusion can have horrible outcomes that could generate hate,” Johnson said.
The mixed feelings on the executive order for some are unyielding.
“It’s just common sense,” Dr. Kay Chandler, a state Surgeon General said. “Women give birth but today that has become controversial, but it should not be.”
As for Wilk who says, apparently this common sense is not common sense,” Wilk said. “Gender identity is complex, there is just more than male or female.”