Pronouns have become a front line in the battle over gender affirmation in the workplace. One prominent Pride leader has stated that using someone’s preferred pronouns is “a really simple way to affirm their identity…during a time when they’re really being targeted by so many discriminatory anti-trans state laws and policies.”
Pronouns are particularly contentious because we rely on them so much in everyday communication. Pronouns are used in place of a person’s name and communicate gender. This reflects a biblical understanding that we were created male and female.
The Pride movement disagrees with this view of gender. As a result, pronouns have become a complicated and highly subjective issue. Most who identify with that movement disagree with the gender assigned to them at birth. In very rare cases, their gender as a baby was ambiguous.
But for the vast majority, they have decided their gender identity is different than their biological gender, or they reject the heterosexual norms associated with that gender.
This can quickly become a confusing and convoluted subject. That confusion is only compounded when these individuals choose to be different genders at different times or begin the lengthy process of “transitioning” from one gender to another.
One solution has been to add pronoun identification to many forms of communication, such as including pronouns in email signatures. And including your pronouns when introducing yourself has become expected in some professional contexts.
Pronouns at Work
So how should believers respond to these requirements in their place of work?
This is a difficult question to answer because it depends on so many variables, including how the policy is handled and who actively enforces it.
If you, in your position, have a role in enacting or enforcing it, you may choose to take a stand or ask not to be involved based on your religious convictions.
In my opinion, this is not the most productive place to take a stand in light of the larger issues of shame discussed in this blog. But you may decide that your integrity as a believer requires you to do so. You must settle this in your own conscience.
One of the downsides to using different pronouns is the amount of mental energy it takes to keep that straight. I have found that this detracts from my ability to communicate thoughtfully about other subjects, so it can be a detriment to those to whom I’m talking.
One solution might be to ask if you can use “they/them” instead of the various pronouns those in the Pride movement may request. This may be enough of a compromise to satisfy their desire to be seen as “other” while keeping you within the bounds of conventional English.
If these individuals are ambiguous about their gender or “transitioning,” it might be like talking to different people at different times. They/them can honestly capture that without affirming their desire to define their gender in a non-biblical way.
I recognize this may be a small comfort for something confronting you daily. Please consider asking for prayer on how God would want you to respond in your particular situation.