Ian Prier, a fulfillment team lead at Target, requested a name tag with his pronouns even though he is cis. More cis employees should follow suit.
A while ago, the retail corporation Target introduced new name tags for their employees. In addition to an employee's name, the name tags include the pronouns to refer to them by. This was considered a move to be more inclusive of gender non-conforming individuals who work at the brand's stores. However, these name tags are not mandatory and could prove dangerous for those who are trans. In order to emphasize why all individuals, including cis employees, should include their pronouns in their name tags, Target employee Ian Prier requested his own "pronoun name badge." In a now-viral post on LinkedIn, he shared why he did so.
"I present male and identify as a man," he writes in his post. "When asked why I need my pronouns on my name badge the answer was simple... I don’t NEED them, I WANT them. I want team members and guests to feel comfortable sharing their pronouns with me. I want the conversation normalized. It’s a very small way to be inclusive so I’m on board!" Prier's "small" action is quite meaningful, as placing the burden of including pronouns in one's name tag on trans folks, rather than those who are cis, can single them out. This can mark them as targets for violence in the worst-case scenario.
As one Reddit user and Target employee explains in their post on the Target subreddit, "If only one or two people in the store wear the pronoun name tag, then it singles them out. It shows to bigots that these people are different (most likely not cis) and puts them at risk. Best case? The employee gets misgendered. Worst case? The guest is angry enough to get violent. It’s like putting a target (lol) on the employee and it isn’t cool." Many other gender non-conforming, as well as cis users, agreed. Therefore, they proposed that the best way forward is for all Target employees, like Prier, to wear name badges with their pronouns on them.
Hey @Target I really love the addition of pronouns on the employee name badges. I asked the cashier if they were just for Pride and she said no, you implemented them a few months ago.— Jen (@jenjenmace) June 13, 2021
I hope more stores follow suit. pic.twitter.com/GCKZwP7AMf
"If all the employees were required to wear name tags with pronouns, that wouldn’t be an issue," they continue. "Because what is a bigoted guest going to do? Are they going to misgender or attack every single employee they interact with? No, they won’t, or they most likely won’t. If everyone wears it, no one is at risk." They ended their "employee rant" by demanding for all employees to mandatorily wear pronoun name badges. While Prier may have taken his own initiative to do so, a compulsory order would be more effective.
Gender pronouns refer specifically to the person you are talking about and can be a means to be more inclusive of all individuals, particularly those who are gender non-conforming. It is a privilege to not have to worry about which pronoun someone will use to refer to you. Using a wrong pronoun may make individuals feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or dysphoric. Oftentimes, you may not know someone's pronouns simply by looking at them. While asking an individual their pronouns is the best way to use the correct ones, an individual may not always feel safe answering this question. Therefore, when cis folks come forward to fix the culture of assuming one's gender (and thereby their pronouns), we can all be a little more inclusive and break down our narrow understanding of gender.