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Anti-pronouns letter to companies
251

Sunkisses · 31/10/2021 08:13

This is an email a friend wrote to a law firm about how seeing pronouns in their staff emails makes her feel, as a woman. Apparently it may have worked as the male lawyer stopped putting pronouns in his signature. She wants other women to adapt it. She set up a gmail account in another name as she didn't want her email to result in negative treatment from the staff, but wanted the firm to know how statements of allegiance to gender ideology makes her feel.

Dear XX

I am a client of yours but I am sending this from an anonymous email account as I do not feel safe sending this from my real account, and fear it will have repurcussions on my treatment by your staff.

I wanted you to know that two of your staff who I deal with have she/her and he/him in their email signatures. I don't know if this is a standard practice and encouraged by XX, or if this is peculiar to these two staff.

I see the statement of pronouns in email signatures as a political statement on an extremely controversial and divisive issue. It makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable, alienated, and quite fearful that I may not receive fair treatment if I disagreed with your staff on this issue. I wanted XX to know how I feel about this, and how many people are likely to feel.

The two staff are clearly female and male, and there is absolutely no reason for them to add these pronouns to their email signature apart from to make a clear political statement on their position on a very divisive issue. I do not believe your staff should be inserting their political positions into their communications with clients, especially on uniquely divisive issues. You would not expect to see staff stating their position on Brexit in their email signatures, with "Leave" or "Remain" added under their contact details. Or people stating "Christ is Lord" or "Allahu Akbar". Or "Vaccinate now" or "Lift lockdown" added.

I profoundly disagree with gender identity ideology. I see it as regressive, sexist and homophobic. I do not regard it as progressive in the slightest. I regard much of gender identity activism as extremely authoritarian and a threat to freedom of thought, belief, and expression, and a threat to the rights of women and girls. I profoundly disagree with the attempts to redefine what a woman is, and what same-sex attraction is. From conversations I have, most people agree with me but many are too fearful of saying so as this issue is so controversial and trans activists are incredibly aggressive and target people in their workplaces.

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.

I ask that XX reconsider whether it is appropriate for staff to have political statements such as pronouns in their email signatures, and whether staff should be using their workplace as a forum for their activism.

Yours, XX

OP's posts:
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JustcameoutGC · 31/10/2021 08:16

Ohhh. Amen to that

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Crouton19 · 31/10/2021 08:19

This is absolutely the right approach. These firms will pay attention to their clients over their own staff.

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FindTheTruth · 31/10/2021 08:20

what a brilliant initiative by your friend to tell an organisation how it makes her feel. It's more eloquent than I could have put it. The last paragraph in particular is straight to the point. Thank you for sharing

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MidsomerMurmurs · 31/10/2021 08:21

That spells it out clearly.

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Lottapianos · 31/10/2021 08:21

That's an excellent letter. Very angry (quite rightly) but clear and articulate too. Bloody good for your friend

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JustcameoutGC · 31/10/2021 08:21

The only thing i would add to that is that thanks to the forstater judgement these views are protected in law.

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Fullmoonshine · 31/10/2021 08:23

This is so good. Wooft! Encapsulates how I feel wonderfully.

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TheTamingOfTheresa · 31/10/2021 08:27

Superb x

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Whitefire · 31/10/2021 08:28

Good letter.

I was googling the other day and I came across a fellow professions webpage, randomly (because it really was) was the statement "Trans rights are human rights" and then something about wanting people to know it was a safe space, my first thought was that it would not likely be a safe space for me.

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TreXX · 31/10/2021 08:30

I'd say it's overstepping tbh especially the detail of how many staff do it, too personal. And it's likely to have people/companies doubling down.

Also it should be much, much shorter and concentrate on making the main points far more concisely.

The points should be:
Irrelevant personal information in the same vein as religion, politics and sexuality.

Disadvantage to female staff.

Potential alienation of customers.

Feelings should be kept out of it as they're largely irrelevant to companies and can be easily dismissed. I delete ranty emails daily in my job. I don't even bother to read them to see if I agree. Rant = delete.

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MidsomerMurmurs · 31/10/2021 08:39

Except 1) that email template is the opposite of a rant; and 2) any short email along the lines of “it’s irrelevant” will be dismissed with “Stonewall tells us this is an easy way to be an ally to the most vulnerable group in society”

So, no. That email is excellent and likely to be effective.

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donquixotedelamancha · 31/10/2021 08:43

I think it's a great letter. I don't think it's over long or too emotive because I think that you need to lead people through the thought process about why it's such a problem.

Anyone using pronouns will not be convinced by simple rational argument.

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TreXX · 31/10/2021 08:45

@MidsomerMurmurs

Except 1) that email template is the opposite of a rant; and 2) any short email along the lines of “it’s irrelevant” will be dismissed with “Stonewall tells us this is an easy way to be an ally to the most vulnerable group in society”

So, no. That email is excellent and likely to be effective.

Ok, just ignore my comment that I delete emails like this on a daily basis regardless of content.... I would read a concise and to the point email but whatever, you know my job better than me...

I guess rant is probably unfair, over emotional maybe. And yes, I know women should not be dismissed as over emotional but they are so we need to pay attention to the audience if we actually want results.

But if you just want mutual back slapping rather than constructive input I'll just leave you all to it
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merrymelody · 31/10/2021 08:54

Oh yessssss! Could I copy/paste and send a modified version to my school anonymously, I wonder? If they found out it was me, I'm quite sure they would treat me badly. Not overtly, for the most part but it would take someone with a tougher skin than mine.

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JustFrustrated · 31/10/2021 08:55

@TreXX

I'd say it's overstepping tbh especially the detail of how many staff do it, too personal. And it's likely to have people/companies doubling down.

Also it should be much, much shorter and concentrate on making the main points far more concisely.

The points should be:
Irrelevant personal information in the same vein as religion, politics and sexuality.

Disadvantage to female staff.

Potential alienation of customers.

Feelings should be kept out of it as they're largely irrelevant to companies and can be easily dismissed. I delete ranty emails daily in my job. I don't even bother to read them to see if I agree. Rant = delete.



I certainly hope you're not actually required to read these emails and formulate a response. How dare you delete something just because in your opinion it's "ranty"

Seriously, so many people make statements like that on Mumsnet. I can't think of a single job where reading and deleting a "ranty email" without any kind of response is acceptable.
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Yepnothatfeeling · 31/10/2021 09:02

Good idea. I wonder how many people who have pronouns in their email have really considered these points? There are about maybe 20% of my colleagues who have pronouns in their emails, people who seem thoughtful and reasonable. I would love to ask them if they are aware how alienating this can be - can it be they actually haven't considered they are effectively making such a controversial declaration?

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peachescariad · 31/10/2021 09:04

Brilliant...just read to DH and we're both going to use parts of it if we're asked by our employers to start using pronouns.
Thanks for sharing

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PhiRhoSigma · 31/10/2021 09:04

I think this idea is excellent and I will be doing this! The email template is also very good, I will probably shorten it a little, I do agree with the PPs who say concise is better. I get 100+ emails a day and any that run to more than a few lines inevitably get speed read only!
I feel the main point is that pronouns are clearly now a political (even pseudo-religious) statement, and this is inappropriate in a workplace.

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TreXX · 31/10/2021 09:05

@JustFrustrated

We get hundreds of emails a day

We don't have time to read them all

So I'm recommending what would catch someone's attention

I'm being realistic rather than ideological

I agree with the sentiments in the email and I'm trying to be helpful but that's clearly not welcome here so I will now hide the thread.

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MidsomerMurmurs · 31/10/2021 09:15

Someone is getting confused between eg customer service in a large retail company, where I’m sure there is a huge number of emails each day, many of which are ranty, and a targeted email to a professional services company, in this case a law firm. Clear arguments with an appropriate level of reasoned detail are appropriate in the latter case.

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BloodinGutters · 31/10/2021 09:30

@Lottapianos

That's an excellent letter. Very angry (quite rightly) but clear and articulate too. Bloody good for your friend

I don’t think the article reads as very angry, although it’s obvious the writer is angry, but more than anything she seems fearful. Rightly so on both counts of course. But the article reads measured and clear and direct. None of the usual ‘of course most trans people are not a threat/I support the rights of trans people to live freely’ yadda yadda. All of which imho are a given, but the continual disclaimers many make when addressing this topic to include assurances that they are v pro trans people freedoms/rights etc often makes it feel like there’s a reason for people to think otherwise. Iykwim. It often makes it read like there’s reason to need to apologise and that reads like there’s reason to assume the request to consider women’s rights/women’s pov on women’s is an unreasonable request. This letter doesn’t come across like that, i think that would make this letter more effective, imho.

Will keep a record of it for addressing similar things in future. Ty op.
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Tirediam · 31/10/2021 09:37

Brilliant. I’ll be copy and pasting this ready for when the bloody pronouns in emails requests start

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Calyx72 · 31/10/2021 09:42

I like it but would take out the adjectives "incredibly" "extremely" "completely"
They remind me of how TRAs exaggerate things.

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Bellusaurus · 31/10/2021 09:47

It's great but agree - it's a little long.

As I've moved up the ranks professionally, I've found senior people much less likely to read and digest long emails. I adapt and send shorter emails. I'm a bit impatient with long ones but I'm a speed reader with retentive memory for text. But when everyone's piling in to correspondence or talking about it I'm struck by how superficially they read.

Well done to your friend though.

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WinterTrees · 31/10/2021 09:48

I think it's a great letter and a thoroughly excellent idea. I absolutely agree that most people are simply decent 'be-kinders' who haven't been well versed in the political shitshow behind this and so don't see the harm, but now the sunlight is beginning to pour in it's a crucial time to push back and invite people to think critically about things.

I would also add that studies show that women still face workplace discrimination and that stating pronouns could tap into unconscious bias and have the effect of disadvantaging women. So, it serves no useful purpose and may have a negative unintended consequence.

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