In the midst of growing animosity toward LGBTQ community from the current presidential administration, particularly the trans community, North Long Beach Councilmember and Vice Mayor Rex Richardson is leading the charge on creating a more harmonious work environment for trans, gender non-conforming, or other city employees who prefer to not go by their given birth name.
Garnering the support of fellow councilmembers Lena Gonzalez, Roberto Uranga and Jeanine Pearce, the Preferred Name and Pronoun Policy would “create the opportunity for employees to be identified with the name and/or pronoun they identify with. As staff considers ways to implement this policy, city identification badges, internal and external directories, name plates, email domains, and signatures indicative of one’s preferential pronoun should be considered,” according to the recommendation forward by Richardson’s office.
While Richardson admitted that certain departments might have some form of a practice when it comes to using a person’s preferred name and pronoun, it is “one thing to have a practice; it’s a whole other thing to implement a citywide policy.”
While such policies are already popular and increasing among educational institutions—Long Beach Unified School District and Cal State Long Beach both have similar policies in place already while Long Beach City College is undergoing the process of implementing such a policy—municipalities are just catching onto it, with West Hollywood being the nearest neighbor to have such a policy in action.
The reasoning, beyond providing a sense of dignity toward workers, is rooted in reason: No one, be it boss or employee, wants to create a hostile work environment when it can easily be prevented.
“It just makes sense,” Richardson said. “If you have fellow workers constantly looking at a name tag that misrepresents you and, over and over, you’re hearing a name that isn’t the one you prefer, that creates an unneeded hostility that is avoidable. Let’s take that very easy step forward.”
Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] on social media at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.