A few weeks ago, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland rolled out a new program that allowed employees to place their preferred pronouns alongside their name and ID number on their official identification during meetings.
On Monday, the program was suspended, and NASA released a statement saying that they are yet to determine whether or not preferred pronouns are “appropriate in a professional context,” according to Slate.
Following the suspension of the program, NASA Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Steve Shih, released a statement to clarify the agency’s decision.
“Through an effort to create a more inclusive workplace,” the statement reads, “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.”
“The learnings from this test will be used to inform the advancement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility,” the statement read.
“NASA is fully committed to supporting every employee’s right to be addressed by their correct name and pronouns,” the statement continues. “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.”
The decision to suspend the program was met with backlash on social media after a Reddit user claiming to be a NASA employee came forward with their story.
“I expected more from NASA,” one reply said. “They used to be able to put people on the moon, now they can’t even let employees display pronouns.”