NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new ordinance changes language in New Haven city code to be more respectful toward those with disabilities.
“Language is important in the way that see each other and the world around us,” Gretchen Knauff, director of the New Haven Department of Services for Persons with Disabilities, said in a written announcement. “Updating the terminology in the ordinances communicates a respect for people with disabilities as important members of the City with valued contributions to all aspects of our culture and community.”
Mayor Justin Elicker signed the ordinance on Nov. 3, according to Tuesday announcement from the city.
Knauff submitted the ordinance to the board of alders on July 5. The legislation committee passed it on Aug. 2, and the full board approved it on Sept. 19. The mayor received it on Oct. 26.
“The City of New Haven is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive place for all our residents, and the language used in our laws and by our government must reflect that,” Elicker said in the written announcement. “Updating and modernizing the terminology used in our ordinances to be more respectful and honoring of people with disabilities was the right thing to do and, frankly, long overdue, and I’m glad this bill is now law. I want to thank Director Knauff and the Commission on Disabilities for championing this legislation and for their continued advocacy on behalf our residents with disabilities, and I also want to thank the Board of Alders for their unanimous vote of support.”
People-first language, also known as person-first language, places the individual before the disability. For example, instead of describing person as “a blind man,” it would be “a man who is blind.”
Under the new ordinance, the term “person with a disability” replaces “handicapped person,” and the term “intellectual disability” replaces “mental retardation.”