Further Reflection on Pronouns

Dear Editor:

I recently re-read the article “The Importance of Pronouns: A Nonbinary Actuarial Analyst’s Perspective” by Arius Johnson, after hearing concerns about the “political” nature of the article. I would encourage everyone to do the same and judge for themselves whether this is truly a public policy article, as I suspect that doing so will lower the temperature of recent discussions as to whether the CAS is becoming politicized.

Arius Johnson begins with a description of their experience coming out in the workplace, followed by concrete suggestions of ways to show courtesy and professional respect to transgender colleagues in the workplace. Nowhere in the article did I find public policy recommendations — the article is about etiquette, not politics. Moreover, an article about workplace conduct is exactly the type of content I would expect to see published by a professional association. Given that the author explicitly recommends for readers to “encourage your colleagues to [disclose pronouns] if they feel comfortable, but don’t force anyone to do so,” it is quite a stretch to suggest that they are advocating for a government policy on this topic.

As a cisgender male, it’s impossible for me to personally experience the same events as the author, so the only way I can learn about these experiences is by listening and reading. I would like to thank Arius Johnson for taking the time to describe their experience, recognizing that the work effort in highlighting the experiences of underrepresented groups often falls disproportionately on the members of those groups.

 — Craig A. Sloss, Ph.D., FCAS, FCIA
(he/him/his), Actuarial Review Editor