News (USA)

GOP freaks out after Air Force memo says service members can include pronouns in email signatures

GOP freaks out after Air Force memo says service members can include pronouns in email signatures
Photo: Bil Browning

A recent report reveals inconsistent policies regarding the inclusion of pronouns in email signatures across various branches of the U.S. Military.

According to the report, neither the Navy nor the Marine Corps has any official policy, though a spokesperson for the Navy said members are welcome to include pronouns if they want to.

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“Currently, the use of pronouns is the service member’s choice to include or not,” said Neal Fisher, deputy director of public affairs for the Chief of Naval Personnel.

“The Navy does not have a standing policy on email signature lines that address the use of personal pronouns, [and it] has not mandated, encouraged, discouraged nor considered the use of pronouns in signature blocks.”

A spokesperson for the Marine Corps stated something similar, while an Army spokesperson said the Army will be reaching out to the Air Force to understand its more explicit pronoun usage policy.

The Air Force released this policy in December, ensuring members are allowed to use pronouns in their signature blocks, though it said doing so is not required.

The new policy was announced in a memorandum that said the guidance had been added to The Tongue and Quill, the Air Force writing guide. It also said the update was due to the work of the Air Force’s LGBTQ Initiatives Team (LIT).

“The change request was driven by awareness of a restrictive policy that was being used against transgender Airmen and Guardians who were authentically representing themselves,” Lt. Col. Bree Fram, a LIT Transgender Policy Team co-lead, said in a statement. “It was also important for many individuals often confused as being a different gender in their communications.”

Out Air Force Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones also celebrated the change at the time, stating, “An inclusive force is a mission-ready force, and I’m thankful to the LGBTQ Initiatives Team for helping us realize this opportunity to be a more inclusive force.”

There was, of course, some inevitable backlash to the Air Force’s announcement.

Republican Congressman Greg Murphy of North Carolina tweeted that the move was a sign that the progressive left “has infiltrated our military.”

“Shouldn’t we be worried about military preparedness rather than pronouns? China and Russia are laughing at this,” Murphy wrote.

In the memorandum, however, Fram emphasized that because using one’s correct pronouns is “an easy way to show care and respect for Airmen and Guardians,” it  can also help the Air Force “retain highly qualified individuals.”

“Allowing pronouns in an individual’s signature block is a quick and simple way to eliminate confusion and promote a more inclusive culture,” Fram said.

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