If you’re someone who rolls their eyes when people start talking about identity politics, prepare to have your head spin when you read about this gem of a California senior citizen who was dismissed from her volunteer position with the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society because she couldn’t wrap her head around the modern use of pronouns.

The Story of Fran Itkoff

Fran Itkoff is a 90-year-old California woman whom Chaya Raichik interviewed on the Libs of TikTok show about her recent dismissal from her volunteer job of 60 years with the National MS Society for not keeping up with modern pronoun standards. Up until now, Fran headed a Long Beach / Lakewood Multiple Sclerosis support group. Fran's husband ran the group before his passing 20 years ago. 

Libs of TikTok - YouTube
Libs of TikTok - YouTube

A Short Version of a Long Story

It’s worth watching the entire interview on Libs of TikTok, (Keep scrolling for a link to the interview below) but the short version is that Fran was fired because she didn’t quite grasp the pronoun Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion guidelines that were presented to her by the Multiple Sclerosis Society. And if you listen to her story, it’s not so much that Fran wasn’t willing to try to understand what was being asked of her. She said she just ‘didn’t know what it was and what it meant’ when asked to use pronouns in her email signature.

Fran Wasn’t Understanding the Pronoun Standards 

Fran says she had seen the inclusion of female pronouns being used in signatures but she wasn’t entirely grasping the concept. Not understanding, she asked a representative what it meant and they said that it meant that ‘they were all-inclusive.’ Fran further questioned the context of inclusiveness because the pronouns she/her by themselves excluded the male pronouns of he/him. Fran was asking questions about a matter that she couldn’t make sense of, and because she was trying to understand what was being asked of her, she was fired from her 60 years of service to the organization.

Dismissal Letter from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Fran was dismissed in a letter from the National MS Society, which stated that Fran had failed to abide by diversity and inclusion guidelines and that she was to immediately step down from the position. The letter went on to say that although the Lakewood/Long Beach Self-Help Group would no longer be officially affiliated with the organization, Fran was welcome to independently carry on her work and ‘participate in the Society’s events and programs.’

You can watch the entire interview below on YouTube

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