Respect Diversity + Inclusion

Elon Musk sparks controversy about pronouns on Twitter after his company touts LGBTQ+ inclusivity

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PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • Billionaire Elon Musk made disparaging remarks about the use of pronouns, which is considered an LGBTQ+ inclusive practice.
  • Musk’s own company, which employs LGBTQ+ people, has been recognized for being inclusive of self-identifiers such as pronouns.
  • Musk’s remarks reach millions of followers on social media and raise questions about his company’s policies.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk doubled down on disparaging remarks on LGBTQ+ inclusivity while touting the practice on behalf of his own community. 

The company did in fact score 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s yearly report, which noted workforce protections for sexual orientation and gender identity or expression — which would include the proper use of pronouns — as well as inclusive benefits and culture of corporate social responsibility. 


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In the company’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Impact Report for this year, Tesla mentioned efforts to allow LGBTQ+ employees to self-identify, including adding non-binary and gender-nonconforming options in their people management system. It’s unclear whether Musk is aware of these policies or will seek to prevent use of self-identified pronouns.

Musk’s tweet drew ire from members of the LGBTQ+ community, including Charlotte Clymer, former press secretary for the HRC. 

 

The comment came after criticism of Musk’s tweet of a meme that said “When you put he/him in ur bio” above an image of a soldier with blood on his hands and a hat that says “I love to oppress” with the dead and dying in the background.

While not all LGBTQ+ people wish to share their pronouns, some are forced to as a result of misgendering and other discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming people. On Twitter, some users responded that the inclusion of pronouns in a bio is a “small gesture” of inclusivity. 

Other Twitter users called out the hypocrisy of criticizing the “esthetic” of pronouns after Musk gave his son a rather unconventional name, “X Æ A-12,” for which he and his wife offered differing pronunciations..  


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