simple steps

Bank invites customers upset by staff pronoun pins to close their accounts

A pronoun badge on a Halifax bank staff member
(Photo: Halifax)

A leading British bank has won praise and criticism for one of its Pride Month initiatives. The Halifax, named after the northern England town where it was originally founded, posted a tweet about staff wearing name tags with their pronouns.

Earlier this week it tweeted a photo of one of the staff badges, with a caption saying ‘Pronouns matter’.

The photo quickly went viral and divided opinion. Some customers were outraged and threatened to close their accounts. Whoever was running the bank’s Twitter account clapped back admirably.

“At Halifax, we strive for inclusion and equality. Giving our colleagues the option to add their pronouns on their badge, helps to create an inclusive environment for our customers and colleagues.”

Another user called it “pathetic virtue signaling.” Halifax again reiterated its support for inclusion and said unhappy customers were welcome to close their accounts.

On Facebook, the photo has prompted over 2,000 comments. Many have thanked the bank.

“Thank you Halifax for giving this option to your employees and helping to normalise it,” said one commentator. “Everyone has pronouns and it’s nice to not have to assume, and to not have to ask. I hope all the nasty comments on this post show you how important this step is.”

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The UK’s leading LGBTQ advocacy nonprofit, Stonewall, was among those to praise the initiative.

Even other financial institutions have issued tweets in support. Rival bank HSBC re-shared Halifax’s photo.

Despite this, several people online have claimed they will close their accounts. The right-wing leaning Daily Mail claims the pronoun badges have prompted an “exodus” of customers, with its columnist, Richard Littlejohn, describing the pronoun pins as “the latest example of the widespread woke fascism.”

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A spokesperson for Halifax downplayed the controversy to PinkNews saying, “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 so, for us, it’s a very simple solution to accidental misgendering.”