A Response to an Employer’s Request for Pronouns
In the past, we’ve talked about why a request for pronouns is not a neutral request. It reflects a false and damaging worldview — one that’s contrary to Christianity — and we’ve encouraged Christians to decline to engage in exchanges of pronouns for this reason. But of course, it’s easy to give that advice. It’s much more challenging to live it out, which is why I pray for courage and wisdom for all those who suddenly find themselves in a situation where choosing to speak the truth could possibly cost them their job.
A Thoughtful Response to “Show Me Your Pronouns!”
I recently spoke to a Stand to Reason supporter who received a company-wide email saying leaders were expected to display their pronouns. After considering the cost and thinking carefully through his response, this is what he told his employers:
I appreciate the goal of mutual respect and creating a welcoming environment for everyone. My desire is to be respectful of everyone. The expectation to display my pronouns asks me to accept a premise that I can’t accept — namely, that my pronouns could be different than he/him. It’s an ontological claim about the nature of reality, and I hold a different view. I’m not asking those that are transgender to accept my view of reality, but I’m being asked to accept theirs.
I can live and work with respect toward anyone with differing beliefs than my own, including my transgender coworkers. Can I be respected in my beliefs that differ on the nature of gender and identity while affirming the dignity of every person?
I thought this was such a good response, hitting some key points: 1) The request is not neutral, 2) the request is contrary to my beliefs, 3) mutual respect requires neither party be forced to affirm something they don’t affirm, and 4) I affirm the dignity of every human being, regardless of their beliefs on this topic, and will treat all with respect.
As it turned out, this man’s employers were open to what he had to say, and he was told the pronouns were not mandatory.
Take Courage From the Courage of Others
I tell you this story for three reasons. First, if you are in a similar situation, please know you’re not alone. There are many others who are putting their jobs on the line for the sake of truth, the good of their neighbor, and the glory of God. Take courage from their courage. Second, speaking the truth might not be as scary and/or as final as you think. It could be that a simple explanation of why you’re declining to display your pronouns or use pronouns that don’t match a person’s sex will be accepted by your employer. Third, I think this man’s response could serve as an excellent outline for you as you plan your response to an employer’s pronoun request.
Your situation may not end as well as this man’s, but as he told me, “God’s been reassuring me that if I lose this job, He is still good.” Now, more than ever, we need to intentionally and deliberately trust that our good God “works all things after the counsel of His will” and that the inspired words of Romans 8:28 are true: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Amy K. Hall is a Christian worldview and apologetics writer and podcaster at Stand to Reason, an organization that trains Christians to think more clearly about their faith and to make an even-handed, incisive, yet gracious defense for classical Christianity and classical Christian values in the public square. You can hear her on Stand to Reason’s #STRask podcast.