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Backlash as Home Office staff are told to add pronouns to work emails

Backlash as Home Office staff are told to add their pronouns to work emails and state whether they want to be called he, she or they

  • Some Home Office staff have been encouraged to share their pronouns in emails
  • They were told this comes from ‘the wider cultural changes’ in the department
  • The Free Speech Union has said that the new rules could breach equalities law 

A row erupted last night after it emerged Home Office staff have been told to declare their pronouns in their emails to make life more welcoming for trans people.

People working at the Visa, Status and Immigration Services department were instructed to say in their emails whether they are a man, a woman, or non-binary.

This means they have to say if they are he/him if they are a man, she/her if they are a woman or they/them if they are non-binary and do not describe themselves as a man or a woman.

It comes two months after the Mail revealed that Britain’s spies are being urged to declare their pronouns to make transgender colleagues feel more included.

The Free Speech Union have written to the Home Office’s top civil servant Sir Matthew Rycroft (pictured) to complain

A row erupted last night after it emerged some Home Office staff were told they can share their pronouns in their emails to make life more welcoming for trans people (stock photo used)

The guide, published by the National Security Agency, said: ‘Sharing your pronouns, if you are comfortable doing this, helps to create an environment in which this is normal.

‘You can do this by: adding your pronouns to your email signature or sharing them at the start of a slidepack.’

Now it has emerged that civil servants at the Home Office have been urged to do the same.

They were told the new rules on pronouns were taking place because of ‘the wider cultural changes’ taking shape in the department.

The Free Speech Union warned the new rules could breach equalities law, and have written to the Home Office’s top civil servant Sir Matthew Rycroft to complain about the directive.

They said: ‘We are concerned that this instruction, which appears to be mandatory, is a form of compelled speech that violates the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the right to free speech and is a breach of the Equality Act 2010.’

The guide, published by the National Security Agency, said: ‘Sharing your pronouns, if you are comfortable doing this, helps to create an environment in which this is normal’

They said they suspect the order was given by an ‘over-zealous manager’, but they demanded reassurance that no worker has been ‘penalised’ for refusing to put the details in their email.

A Home Office source has disputed the story, saying they don’t have their pronouns in their email signature and that only a few colleagues do, The Times reports.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘This is false. Home Office staff are not compelled to list their pronouns on their email signature. Individuals are free to declare their pronouns, if they wish.’

It comes as the Home Office comes under mounting pressure over the scheme to bring Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s bombs to Britain.

While some 55,600 refugees have been matched with a host under the UK’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, only around 3,200 have been given a visa and safely arrived in Britain – just 5.8 per cent. 

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