The State Department is offering counseling to employees triggered over a recent email glitch that randomly assigned gender pronouns to staff, the majority of which were incorrect.
The therapy from a “professional counselor” will be provided to "any employee who feels hurt or upset as a result of this unfortunate mistake," reads an internal email sent to employees Friday, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
"I want to stress that the intent behind making this feature available is to make our systems more inclusive and provide employees with options—not to make decisions for them," Kelly Fletcher, the State Department’s chief information officer, said in the email. "I recognize that this error had the opposite effect, and again, I am very sorry."
The glitch, which caused “She/her/hers” and “He/him/his” to be displayed in the “from” line, occurred during testing for “a new feature that will provide users with the option to include their preferred pronouns in their Global Address List profile," Fletcher explained.
Eventually, when the feature is formally added to the system, employees will have the option to choose their pronouns.
"I deeply regret the confusion and distress this mistake caused our workforce," Fletcher wrote.
Associated Press journalist Matt Lee grilled Deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel about the incident on Friday.
“I’d like to know why this would not be an optional thing … the problem is that a lot of them or at least some of them so far, as I’ve been able to tell, are wrong. They’re giving the wrong pronouns,” Lee said. “So men are being identified as women and women as men … and this has nothing to do with whatever transgender or anything like that … but it’s ridiculous!"
WATCH: AP’s Matt Lee asks Biden State Department why they’ve added mandatory pronouns onto the from line on State Department emails.— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) May 18, 2023
"This is not an optional thing. … But the problem is that a lot of them or at least some of them so far, as I’ve been able to tell, are wrong!… pic.twitter.com/KVnbnICrUT