United Kingdom

Scottish government wants its 8,000 civil servants to add pronouns to their email sign offs

The Scottish Government wants its 8,000 civil servants to add pronouns to their email signatures despite nearly 60 per cent saying they are against the move.

Employees would be encouraged to include terms that reflect their gender identity such as she/her, he/him, they/them or 'non standard' terms such as zie or zir.

Many have praised the move and said it would 'foster an open culture that is supportive of the LGBTI+ community', The Telegraph said.

But it said an internal survey orchestrated to gauge reaction sparked a fierce debate with 60 per cent arguing that they did not back the proposal.

It is thought that some, including director of the For Women Scotland campaign group Trina Budge (right), wrote to express their concerns but were dismissed by Scotland's top civil servant Leslie Evans (left) 

It is thought that some workers wrote to express their concerns but were dismissed by Scotland's top civil servant Leslie Evans.

Director of the For Women Scotland campaign group Trina Budge has since hit out at Ms Evans as well as the government's handling of the potential policy.

According to the publication, she said: 'A recent poll showed the majority of civil servants were against this move and it is sad, but not surprising, to see Ms Evans disregard this.

'In forging ahead with this or any associated coerced signing of a pledge, the Scottish Government would, potentially, be discriminating against a protected belief and also inviting sex discrimination.'

It is not yet clear when the policy would begin, should it go ahead. 

MailOnline has contacted the Scottish Government for comment. 

But it is not the first organisation to embrace the use of gender pronouns. 

Last year the BBC began encouraging its employees to include their gender pronouns in their email sign offs (stock image)

Last year, the BBC began encouraging its employees to include their gender pronouns in their email sign offs.   

The broadcaster, who announced their new guidance on their official intranet, hoped the move would be a 'small, proactive step that we can all take to help create a more inclusive workplace'.   

Recent BBC data suggests that around 400 members of staff at the corporation currently identify as transgender, according to The Times.

However, in line with the new proposal, all 22,000 staff at the organisation will be encouraged to update their email signatures to include their pronouns. 

The guidance, seen by The Times, reads: 'It lets colleagues knows your pronouns and shows that you respect other people's too. It's really simple.'   

Virgin also previously announced that it would be adding an optional field for employees to write the pronouns they best identify with in their email signatures.

Virgin also previously announced that it would be adding an optional field for employees to write the pronouns they best identify with in their email signatures (stock image)

In a statement the company's owner Sir Richard Branson wrote: 'Virgin has been an ally of the LGBT+ community since we started the brand. 

'In June, I was in New York  with Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Holidays, who made history with the world's first ever Pride flight, and Virgin Voyages, who launched our LGBTQ+ Charter voyage.

'It made me reflect on everything we've done over the years to support the LGBT+ community and how the Virgin brand and family wouldn't be what it is today without them.

'One thing we've learnt is that standing up for LGBT+ rights involves moving with the times and constantly adjusting what we say and do to make sure we're acting as inclusively as possible.'

He continued: 'At Virgin Management we've chosen to add an optional field for our employees to write the pronouns they best identify with in their email signatures.

'After speaking to LGBT+ charities Switchboard - LGBT+ Helpline and Gendered Intelligence, as well as to trans and non-binary people themselves, we learned how important asking someone's pronouns can be.'     

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