Worldwide brand Marks & Spencer have given their staff the option to have their preferred gender pronouns on their name badges and its a wonderful thing.
The legendary British retailer said in a social media post: “Recently, we introduced pronoun name badges for our colleagues, encouraging as many of them as possible to wear whichever combination of pronouns is right for them. An amazing initiative provided by one of our colleagues Morgen Kane to our Suggest to Steve programme, as we continue to build an inclusive future, together.”
M&S then also shared a post from a food PR manager at the company, David Parke, 28, showing his own pronoun badge which read: “He/Him/His” (see pic above).
Parke said: “Giving people the option to display their pronouns at work is really important as it encourages them to show allyship towards trans and non-binary colleagues. Many of us already include our pronouns in our email signatures, but when you’re talking to people in person it’s useful to know how they want to be referred to in order to help everyone feel comfortable and avoid any misgendering.”
Clearly knowing the significance of what he was posting, he continued: “Right now trans people in the UK are facing more abuse and discrimination than ever before, and so it’s up to all of us to create an inclusive culture and make sure everyone gets the respect they deserve. It’s great that M&S is proactively taking these sorts of steps to support and celebrate LGBTQ+ colleagues.”
Meanwhile, an email template intended to be used to harass companies is being circulated to gender critical forums and groups on Mumsnet, Facebook and Twitter etc saying that pronouns on staff badges or email signatures are “a political statement on an extremely controversial and divisive issue”.
Literally that couldn’t be further from the truth. These are OPTIONAL and seeing someone else’s preferred pronoun has NOTHING to do with what yours may be.
Part of the template states: “When I see your staff acting as activists with political statements in their email signatures it does not make me feel comfortable at all, and makes me feel like they would not treat me fairly if they knew that I profoundly disagreed with their political views on the importance of women’s rights. It makes me feel they oppose the rights of women and girls, and it makes me feel alienated and completely excluded.”
Obviously it’s been written as if it’s from one disgruntled person with a view to hoodwinking companies into thinking that this was a real thing. It is not. Conflating pronouns with opposing women’s rights is so patently ridiculous we’d laugh if it wasn’t so dangerous.
Once again, a simple thing designed to make vulnerable people feel more comfortable is being hijacked to attack them further.