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NASA Gives Employees Option To Choose Preferred Gender Pronouns In Email Communications

Last updated on March 11, 2022

NASA announced Thursday that it launched a program allowing its employees to use their preferred gender pronouns in email communications.

The nation’s civil space program, whose stated purpose is to “develop and fund space technologies that will enable future exploration and benefit life on Earth,” said in a press release Thursday that it had completed an IT project at its Goddard Space Flight Center that would give employees the option to share their preferred pronouns in official emails.

“Through an effort to create a more inclusive workplace, NASA recently completed an IT project at Goddard Space Flight Center that allowed approximately 125 employees to test the option of including their gender pronouns in NASA’s email display fields — which currently includes each employee’s name, center, and an organizational code,” NASA Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity Steve Shih said. “The learnings from this test will be used to inform the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.”

“NASA is fully committed to supporting every employee’s right to be addressed by their correct name and pronouns. All NASA employees currently have the option and flexibility to include their gender pronouns in their customized email signature blocks. This option remains unchanged and is supported by NASA leadership so that employees can share their gender identities and show allyship to the LGBTQIA+ community,” Shih added.

Critics blasted the statement on Twitter.

“You have one job, @NASA, it’s space exploration. Pronouns are irrelevant,” Post Millenial editor-in-chief Libby Emmons tweeted.

“It would be great if you were committed to being an innovative, first-rate space agency again and not a bureaucratic money pit,” Newsmax senior editor Cody Derespina lamented. “But, please, keep worrying about pronouns.”

“One small step for persons identifying as he/she/they and other nonconforming, one giant leap for persons identifying as humankind,” Michigan congressional candidate John Gibbs joked.

“It all makes sense now. NASA hasn’t sent astronauts back to the moon, because that would mean sending a ‘manned’ mission,” another user mocked.

“Can’t land on the Moon but man we got this pronoun thing locked down,” added another.

Under the Biden administration, NASA has taken something of a woke turn. The space program introduced an initiative called “Mission Equity” in 2021, described as “a comprehensive effort to assess expansion and modification of agency programs, procurements, grants, and policies, and examine what potential barriers and challenges exist for communities that are historically underrepresented and underserved.” NASA also sought out public feedback on “potential barriers” that hinder the space program from engaging minority groups, and on ways that it could pursue an agenda that emphasizes racial and “environmental justice.” NASA especially sought comments from “Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.”

NASA’s Inspector General also lamented in January that the space agency did not have sufficient data to make sure that it met its stated goals for diversity, which include putting a woman and a person of color on the moon, as The Daily Wire reported. “Current data limitations restrict NASA’s ability to fully measure its progress towards meeting broader diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility goals—a significant issue given that astronauts are among the most publicly visible employees at the Agency,” the report said. The IG recommended that NASA keep more comprehensive information on its astronaut corps so that it can continue to “expand diversity.”

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