HALIFAX has found itself embroiled in a row over badges, telling customers they can close their accounts if they disagree with staff wearing pronouns on their lapels.


What’s happening?

The Halifax Twitter account posted a photograph of one of its staff badges with the name “Gemma” written on it and “she/her/hers” underneath, captioning the image: “Pronouns matter. #ItsAPeopleThing”.



The words that refer to individuals or groups, such as he, she, they, you, I, have become tied up with the issues of gender identity and biology. LGTBQ+ charity Stonewall praised the move to allow staff to display their preferred pronouns, saying: “It’s great to see workplaces like Halifax offering staff the option of including their pronouns on badges. Having pronouns on badges is a simple yet impactful way to make sure LGBTQ+ identities are respected – for employees and customers alike.”



The response was not entirely positive over the move by Halifax - which is a division of the Bank of Scotland, owned after the town of Halifax, West Yorkshire, where it was founded as a building society in 1853. Some responses were scathing, including, “Super glad my tax helped prop you up in 2008 so you could vomit a rainbow in my face today” and "If a female employee chooses male pronouns will he/him receive a pay rise?” Another wrote: “Account will be closed” and another tweeter branded it “pathetic virtue signalling”.


What was Halifax’s response?

The bank said: “We want to create a safe and accepting environment that opens the conversation around gender identity. We care about our customers and colleagues individual preferences. For us, it’s a very simple solution to accidental misgendering…We strive for inclusion, equality and quite simply, in doing what’s right. If you disagree with our values, you’re welcome to close your account.”



In April, it emerged the Home Office has asked staff to use pronouns in emails due to "wider cultural changes" taking place in government, with staff in the Visa, Status and Immigration Services department asked to state whether they identify as a woman, man or non-binary in email sign-offs. Political website Guido Fawkes reported this week that the "Home Office is continuing its push toward compulsory pronouns for Civil Servants" and describe it as an "important step towards inclusivity in the workplace”. Pronoun badges have also been introduced at the British Library on the advice of Stonewall.



In November, the BBC withdrew from a Stonewall diversity scheme amid concerns, raised in a BBC podcast hosted by presenter Stephen Nolan which raised concerns some BBC staff were no longer able to air gender critical views due to Stonewall’s influence. Ofcom also withdrew from the scheme last autumn.



...The Daily Telegraph reported this week that women who question transgender ideology were branded "farts" as part of equality training run by the Scottish Government's LGBTI+ staff network, apparently an acronym for "feminism appropriating ridiculous transphobe", with staff said to be directed to a trans language dictionary to aid communication in the workplace.