They / Them / Their

At work, we're not allowed to alter our email signatures. It's your name, your job title, and your phone number — no variations.

I became acquainted with this rule on April Fools Day a few years back, after I removed the employee photo that's attached to all my emails, and replaced it with a cartoon, like the one in the sidebar. I also replaced my job title with "Hungover This Morning" on outgoing emails.

Twenty minutes later my Outlook beeped with a stern command from my boss's boss's boss, to change everything back immediately. "Our policy is designed to present a uniform and professional image in all communications, blah blah blah." They have no sense of humor, but they don't pay me for comedy, so I changed it back.

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Today I received technical question via email from someone in a different department, and in answering I noticed that their tagline includes Pronouns: They/Them/Their between the sender's name and job title. You know what? I'm Hungover This Morning, and I approve this message.

It's an old-fashioned business and they mostly treat employees like you'd treat people, not the 2020s workplace standard of Fuck You. I'm not surprised that company policy bends a bit, to make life a little easier for a trans employee.

It's not easy being out of the ordinary just slightly, a different color or accent or sexuality, an unusual height or weight or disability, and reworking your gender is farther from "ordinary" than most people can fathom. Nobody does that on a whim. It takes courage. Respond with respect and acceptance, or you're a nincompoop.


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