Halifax customers have threatened to close their accounts after the firm added pronouns to its staff name badges in a move that was branded ‘nonsense’.
The bank announced on Twitter yesterday that it was making the change, but said it would be optional for staff.
Beneath a post that read ‘pronouns matter’ and the hashtag ‘ItsAPeopleThing’, it showed a photo of a female staff member’s name badge which featured ‘she/her/hers’ in brackets.
Some customers immediately said they wanted to close their accounts as they hit out at the move.
One wrote: ‘For a moment there, I was hoping this was a joke photo on a parody account, then I saw the verified tick now I’m thinking I should close my Halifax account and take my money elsewhere.’
Another simply asked: ‘How do I close my account?’
The critical tweets prompted the bank to defend its new policy by responding to the tweets. It said in one post: ‘We strive for inclusion, equality and quite simply, in doing what’s right. If you disagree with our values, you’re welcome to close your account.’
The bank also gave instructions to customers who wanted to close their accounts, saying they could call them or put a request in writing.
Another critic questioned whether displaying pronouns ‘really’ mattered when ‘things like climate change and war’ are happening.
Halifax responded to the tweet directly, with staff member ‘Dave’ writing: ‘We want to create a safe and accepting environment that opens the conversation around gender identity.
‘We care about our customers and colleagues’ individual preferences, for us, it’s a very simple solution to accidental misgendering.’
A fourth user said they had already closed their account after seeing the new policy.
However, some Twitter users were in favor of the move.
One said: ‘Thank you for being inclusive! Sorry that your social media team has had to deal with the transphobes but they’re doing a great job.’
Halifax’s move comes amid a row about transgender athletes competing in sport.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there is a difference between being a woman and a trans woman and said that someone ‘cannot be born with a penis without being a man.’
Last week, Fina – the world governing body for swimming – said it was changing its policies so that transgender women can only compete in the organization’s female races if they have completed their transition by the age of 12.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries also told a summit of governing bodies it was ‘inherently unfair’ for women and teenage girls to be pitted against biological males.
She did however back the creation of new ‘open categories’ that would allow transgender women to compete against each other and against men.
The BBC also defied pro-trans lobbyists who are demanding the sacking of Sharron Davies as presenter of the Commonwealth Games this summer.
The former Olympic swimmer has campaigned for transgender women to be banned from women’s sport.
She has been subject to abuse, including death threats, for her opposition to activists’ demands.