Houghton College, in New York, fired two employees who included their pronouns in their emails, The New York Times reported.

The employees, Raegan Zelaya and Shua Wilmot, both said they thought they were doing a good thing by including their emails. They wanted to be supportive of transgender people (although they are not transgender themselves) and they have unusual first names, so many people wouldn’t know how to address them.

Houghton is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church, which teaches that “gender confusion and dysphoria are ultimately the biological, psychological, social and spiritual consequences of the human race’s fallen condition.” It views “adult gender nonconformity as a violation of the sanctity of human life.”

Michael Blankenship, a university spokesman, said in a statement that Houghton “has never terminated an employment relationship based solely on the use of pronouns in staff email signatures … Over the past years, we’ve required anything extraneous be removed from email signatures, including Scripture quotes.”

However, Zelaya’s termination letter said she was fired “as a result of your refusal to remove pronouns in your email signature” as well as for criticizing an administration decision to the student newspaper.


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