The Daily Telegraph

Virgin Money staff allowed to display pronouns on name badges

- By Lucy Burton

VIRGIN Money’s branch staff will be able to add their chosen pronouns onto their work uniforms later this month as part of an industry-wide drive to appear more inclusive.

The bank is the latest major lender to tell workers that they can add their preferred pronoun, such as she/her/hers, he/him/his or they/them/theirs, onto their name badges as the banking sector races to shake-off its “pale, male and stale” image and attract a younger workforce.

The change follows similar moves by larger rivals Natwest, HSBC and Halifax, which all introduced pronoun labels earlier this year.

However, Halifax, which is owned by Lloyds Banking Group, became embroiled in a public spat after it told customers they can close their accounts if they disagreed with its stance.

The row intensifie­d after Howard Brown, who appeared in Halifax television adverts, said its attitude toward customers was “shocking, wrong and disappoint­ing”. A spokesman said the bank wanted to create a “safe and accepting environmen­t that opens the conversati­on around gender identity”.

Virgin Money’s move also comes weeks after it emerged that Natwest would pay for transgende­r staff to get hormone treatment as part of a wider overhaul of its policies aimed at better suiting trans customers and staff.

Transgende­r activists have called for people to state their preferred pronoun as part of everyday communicat­ion.

A 2018 study by the University of Texas also found that transgende­r youths who felt comfortabl­e using their chosen pronouns at school, home and work were 71pc less likely to have symptoms of severe depression compared with peers who felt they could not.

A Virgin Money spokesman said the new name badges will appear in branches over the coming weeks.

The use of pronouns is fast becoming common on name badges and signatures at the end of work emails.

The shift has happened quickly, with an insider at one major City firm saying that a proposal to mandate pronouns in email signatures was rejected two years ago. “There wasn’t much support for it from anyone over 40,” she said.

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