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NASA’s Embarrassing Pronouns Fumble
Employees are frustrated and mad that a pilot program meant to foster inclusivity was abruptly ended.
The gesture from the leadership at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland was simple: as of a few weeks ago, employees could add their pronouns to their official identification for meetings. On calls and chats, the information would appear alongside their names and internal ID number. The addition of a formal field for pronouns was a show of support to gender minorities and their allies.
But it didn’t last. On Monday of this week, representatives from NASA Headquarters called a meeting to abruptly end the new features in their system, which they said had been rolled out as part of a pilot program. Officials told Goddard employees who attended the meeting that they hadn’t determined if including pronouns was appropriate in a professional context, and needed to consider broader impacts of displaying the pronouns, an explanation that left many feeling frustrated.