General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

Is it time to use preferred pronouns for business?

Asked by KNOWITALL (27841points) 2 months ago

I work for a large worldwide corporation and am starting to see Outlook signatures using them from the more liberal areas of the US.

As a she/her, would I update mine without guidance from corporate?

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86 Answers

LadyMarissa's avatar

Since most corporation are so finicky about their image, I think I would WAIT until corporate put out a guideline…OR…contact HR for guidance on the subject.

ragingloli's avatar

What is so difficult about it?
Despite the so called supreme court saying that corporations are people, the gender of a company was, is, and always will be “it”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli In our business signature, it’s referring to each of us personally, not as a company.

So I would be first and last name (she/her).

Caravanfan's avatar

Many people in my organization do it. I do not.

Demosthenes's avatar

I don’t know of any place where it is mandatory. People do it optionally in various places (work, social media). I do not do it. I think it only needs to specified if you prefer “they/them” or something outside the usual (and yes, I do work with someone who prefers “they/them”). I don’t see the need for everyone to do it by default.

filmfann's avatar

Since my own pronoun is it/that, I would object to every business automatically being assigned the same, since they are obviously different.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am in favor of stating it even if it’s obvious. It marks you as a safe person. People who are questioning their designation will appreciate knowing that you will be kind to them. My automatic signature in Outlook says “Name (he/him)”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I work with people across the nation so my concern would be two issues. 1) Ultra conservatives getting upset at a nod to woke culture. And 2) anyone I work with feeling they can’t be their authentic self in discussions, if I do NOT make that nod.

Just trying to do the right thing.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@KNOWITALL I think you know how I feel about utra-conservatives. Expletive them. I believe it’s far more important to signal to people who are struggling that you care.

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Forever_Free's avatar

We added that option to our profiles at work over a year ago.

chefl's avatar

Why would anyone want to be compelled to say things they don’t want to?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I do and in some cases I agree with you. LGBTQ issues are important to me, because I care very much for our collective mental health.
But I also don’t want to lose my job if Johhny Republican starts screaming at me for catering to ‘those people.’

@chefl I want people I work with daily to feel safe with me and know I care. It literally takes 10 seconds to do, and could change someone’s life.
We’re remote workers which is isolating and sometimes we only talk to our coworkers for entire days at a time.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Forever_Free Are you in a liberal state? Just curious.

chefl's avatar

If I tried to compel people to say things they don’t believe, they wouldn’t call it caring.

chefl's avatar

No one wants to be compelled, coerced, that is safe to say.

Forever_Free's avatar

@KNOWITALL One firm is in Massachusetts but headquartered out of NYC. The other firm is out of Minnesota

All these states have been forward thinking for a very long time in LGBTQ+

If your corporate HR has not put something out on this subject then I suggest checking with them first.

eyesoreu's avatar

By definition, yes it’s time.
That’s the way the world is swinging, so go with the flow.

Resistance is futile.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@chefl There’s no pressure or compelling. Just trying to be a decent human. And if I can be an example in a red state, I’m down for it.

janbb's avatar

If you want to do it but are concerned about how it would come across, talk to your HR person and ask them what they think. Or you can wait and see when it becomes more mainstream.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@janbb Waiting for an answer now. They are very particular about our signatures and we have to use the company template so I don’t take it lightly.
It’s a liberal company so it should be fine.

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SavoirFaire's avatar

[Mod Says] This question is in the General Section. All responses must be helpful and on-topic. Also, please refresh to make sure you are not responding to answers that have already been removed. Thanks!

hat's avatar

Sure it’s time. But your concerns that you’ve outlined seem legitimate. If your emails go to people outside your organization, and your workplace doesn’t have a specific policy, you’re justified in your concern that it might come back to hurt you. Personally, I’d probably wait until the company had a policy – or I’d reach out for clarification in writing to make sure.

gondwanalon's avatar

I go along to get along. Whatever rattles your cage.

RayaHope's avatar

I have literally NO experience with a corporate protocol so I can’t address this from experience. But I would do what I felt was right. I wouldn’t do something just because someone else thinks it is. I have to live with my decisions and what I feel I should do I do.

Jonsblond's avatar

This is a question for HR.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t understand. Pronouns in your signature? Can you explain it to me? People are actually stating their preferred pronoun in their signature?

Jonsblond's avatar

^Yes. Many professionals do this now. They do it at the hospitals where I live. Teachers and other school personnel do this as well.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jonsblond How does that look?

JLeslie Smith
Business Manager
Abbott Media
240–890-2400
Please refer to me as she/her

Jonsblond's avatar

Only she/her is added at the end. No explanation is needed.

Jonsblond's avatar

Here’s an example I found in my communications.

Jane Doe, M.A., LPC, GCDF
she/her/hers
555–555-5555

JLeslie's avatar

@Jonsblond Thanks. I can see the benefit, but it seems unnecessary for everyone to do it.

People with names like mine, Leslie, have been correcting people to use he or she for many years.

@KNOWITALL I wouldn’t add it without a directive from corporate, and I’m doubtful corporate will make that a policy. If I was in charge I wouldn’t have everyone add it to their signature, and I might even say don’t do it. I can imagine companies in some places specifically saying don’t do it.

I find it interesting @Caravanfan who always defends calling people by what they prefer, who works in the medical field, and who works in a very progressive part of the country, doesn’t do it.

cookieman's avatar

I did not add pronouns to my email signature or Zoom screen name for over a year since it started being done where I work.

I didn’t think it was needed as I was “obviously” a he/him. Then, I heard someone explain it as @Hawaii_Jake did above — that doing so marks you as a safe person to those struggling with their identity.

I immediately added it after that because that perspective is much more important to me.

JLeslie's avatar

@cookieman That makes sense to me; to make others comfortable. It’s even more than being a safe person, it’s also good etiquette to give someone the information so they don’t struggle with worrying they might offend you by using the wrong pronoun. Although, I give people what to call me all the time and some people still opt to call me something else. Most people appreciate it.

I would think the most common confusion is whether to use “they” instead of he or she. Over email most conversations are you, I, and me, unless it’s a group conversation. Also, most people their name is the clue what gender they are, and if their name doesn’t make it obvious, they know it.

Lots of children were purposely given names that go both ways so their resume would read possible male, or be assumed most likely a male.

I still would check with my company before adding it, and I don’t fault a company for not wanting their employees to do it.

LadyMarissa's avatar

My pastor introduces him self first by name & then he says My pronouns are He/His. We had one visitor get up &walk out. He kind of chuckled & said If that’s all it takes to insult him, then he really wasn’t prepared for my sermon. My pastor marches in gay pride parades & truly supports everyone!!! He wears a rainbow stole

janbb's avatar

@LadyMarissa I love your pastor!!! Can I ask you what denomination?

RayaHope's avatar

@LadyMarissa Your pastor sounds like a great man! I should join your church. :)

KNOWITALL's avatar

The answer was leave my signature as is. I find it very odd for my company in particular which is known for woke culture.

jca2's avatar

My guess for their reasoning is that it’s easier to say “leave it as it is” than to put out a directive or protocol and then have it be questioned by others. The way you have it, the “traditional” way, requires no defense.

Demosthenes's avatar

I find it interesting @Caravanfan who always defends calling people by what they prefer, who works in the medical field, and who works in a very progressive part of the country, doesn’t do it.

Well, I can’t speak for him, but I have no issue with calling people what they prefer or trans people or any of that. I just don’t think that I need to do it if I’m the default and I don’t think it should be a requirement. Even here in the super liberal Bay Area, what I usually see is that it’s an option, not required for anyone. I’m okay with people assuming I’m a “he”. though I’d prefer “his highness” :P

JLeslie's avatar

@Demosthenes I agree. Plus, I think people over-rotate on some of these issues and it has the opposite effect of what’s intended. People get annoyed.

It’s a difficult balance between pushing for change and alienated or annoying people.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie It costs nothing to be kind.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Agree. Are you saying it’s unkind not to write he/him?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^It’s kind to write them. That signals to people who are struggling that you are a safe person.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Source from NIH

82% of trans youth contemplate suicide, and fully 40% actually attempt it.

Trans people are right now the most marginalized minority in the US. I have read that literally only one affirming adult in the life of a trans youth will significantly lower the suicidal risk. I want to be that one adult.

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Yes, I agreed way above that I understand why that’s a signal. I think that’s great that you want to be that person and are promoting understanding of why it’s important.

I show I’m accepting all the time in person. My entire life I have interacted with trans people and treated them with respect and been inclusive.

My business signature doesn’t get seen by young people, I don’t interact with them. I’m happy to use whatever pronoun someone prefers. If I make a mistake it is only that, a mistake, and I hope someone corrects me so I don’t repeat the mistake.

I make the mistake constantly, because I deal with people around the world and half the time I don’t know if their name is male or female. Usually, I ask, if I’m not sure, but sometimes I assume incorrectly.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Source from NIH

46.55% of transgender adults are suicidal. It costs nothing to signal to those adults that you are a safe person. I’m glad you are safe in face-to-face encounters, @JLeslie. It costs nothing to signal to those people that you are safe all the time including online. Trans people bear the brunt of great bigotry in person and virtually. It’s a simple thing, and it helps.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@janbb I used to be Southern Baptist but they became way too judgy. I switched to the Episcopal Church because they welcome everyone & I do mean EVERYONE!!! Even when they don’t agree with you, you are welcome & treated well!!! We even have several Atheist members. I think that in Canada it’s the Anglican Church. They are very left wing in their thinking. Several have locked horns with Greg Locke & he’s sending demons to straighten them out.

janbb's avatar

@LadyMarissa That sounds similar to my Unitarian congregation too. Nice!

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Jonsblond's avatar

I can say from experience that it is a relief when I need to communicate with someone about my trans son and they state their preferred pronouns. It’s a huge relief for my son as well. It assures us that the person will be accepting.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@JLeslie Please read what @Jonsblond just wrote.^

JLeslie's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Like I said, I understand why, I think it is a nice thing to do. Not sure why you are focusing on me, @chefl is the one who is lost.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^I pointed you to that answer, because it’s precisely why you should put your pronouns on your signature.

JLeslie's avatar

^^There are multiple people on here who similar to me understand the arguments for why it’s a good thing to do, and also don’t think it should be mandatory, and don’t do it themselves, and understand why companies might prefer not to do it, yet you are focusing on me. Why?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^I didn’t say it should be mandatory.

What makes you think I’m not hoping to also sway them?

You’re the one who keeps restating that you’re an ally, but you won’t do this simple thing, even when a person who is the only one on this site directly affected says its a good thing.

I’m done.

canidmajor's avatar

Whoa, how does coercion help here?

janbb's avatar

I think we’ve all seen a good airing of the subject now and it will help us as we evolve in our thinking. No one should feel bullied to act in a certain way, that is counter-productive.

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jca2's avatar

If the job has a policy for or against it, the employee needs to go by that protocol. If the job says don’t do it, the employee shouldn’t do it.

If there is an opportunity for employees to weigh in on changing the policy, employees should speak up about it if it’s important to them.

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canidmajor's avatar

@KNOWITALL, I really feel you should go with your gut on this, unless and until corporate has a firm policy.

janbb's avatar

^^ She did post that they had answered her in the negative.

jca2's avatar

@KNOWITALL Can’t go against the policy.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@All Gotta love newbies who don’t read the rules. Thanks to those who stayed on topic.

janbb's avatar

^^ Good discussion. Thanks for raising it.

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SavoirFaire's avatar

[Mod Says] Again, this question is in the General Section. All responses must be helpful and on-topic. Continued attempts to derail the conversation are not acceptable. If you received a PM from the moderation team about your participation on this question, please abide by it.

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