My firm asked all employees to add our pronouns to our email signatures to promote inclusivity. So, I did: “He/him/his.” I am in sales and send out hundreds of outreach emails every week. Today, a potential customer replied: “Not interested.” He said he was “turned off by the unnecessary pronoun thing.” I support inclusivity. But this interaction made me wonder about the risks and rewards of my company’s policy. My email signature isn’t suddenly going to make anyone more welcoming to nonbinary people. But some may be turned off by it. And I don’t think leaving off my pronouns would offend anyone. Am I wrong? ANONYMOUS
Even before I could read Philip’s answer, my mind was made up. No. Pronouns should not be included in an email signature. I think of trans or nonbinary people who aren’t ready to come out, and feel this policy is problematic because it pressures people to either out themselves before they’re comfortable or lie. I agree it may also make it easier for some trans and nonbinary people to come out, but coming out is a process, and just because you come out you may not be in the space to have the talk and answer the (insensitive) questions. I understand Philips point “Including pronouns is a useful reminder to avoid making assumptions and to address people correctly.” When I correspond with individuals by email who have not met me, my pronouns are often mixed up. This is likely due to my name, and my profession, as many do not consider a woman to be as likely to run a business or be direct in their correspondence. This, to me, allows us to have a bigger conversation than gender. What are your thoughts on this issue?