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If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

Ms. Magnolia

Dear Ms. Magnolia, We have an employee who has been with us for a year and now has decided to be nonbinary and wants everyone to use “they/them” pronouns instead of “he/him,” as “they” have been called since “they” started working here. Even here in a small conservative town, as a state agency we have had staff training about gender identity, emphasizing the importance of not “misgendering” and the necessity of using correct pronouns to create an “inclusive workplace” and to help “reduce their depression and suicidal thoughts.”

Our supervisors say we must recognize other people’s perspectives as valid and “accept multiple truths at once.” Most of our staff consider this an imposition on their time which makes the workplace more uncomfortable for themselves trying to remember how to word everything they say, but the new employee says “they” feel harassed and not safe at work when the wrong pronouns are used in referring to “them.” What can we do? Confused

Dear Confused, “They” must have extremely hypersensitive feelings to be considering suicide because of a pronoun. Unfortunately, this is a sign of our times. We are now faced with legal liability, possibly imprisonment, if we don’t change the language that we have used for centuries to suit a few selfcentered people who like to see just how far they can test the limits of the culture.

Of course, all employees should be treated with respect always. Coworkers can explain that they mean no disrespect to the binary, so instead of pronouns they will just use the nonbinary’s name to avoid confusion: “Yes, I saw John in the office. I think John

plans to take John’s car to the conference, and if John needs more information about the conference, John can call the office."

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

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