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Volunteer Aged 90 Fired Over Pronouns

by | Wed, Feb 21 2024

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The American Multiple Sclerosis Society has sacked a 90-year-old volunteer because she “did not understand pronouns.” Fran Itkoff had volunteered for the charity for more than 60 years because her late husband suffered from the condition.

She admitted to some Society staff that she did not understanding why workers were listing their preferred pronouns on the organisation’s correspondence. Mrs. Itkoff is quoted as saying: “I was talking to an MS Society representative and thought I would ask What does it mean? She said that it meant they were all-inclusive which didn’t make sense to me. Because it sounds like you are labeling for females, not males, if you are just putting in she/her.”

A few days later, she received an email accusing her of violating the MS Society’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) guidelines. A manager wrote to Mrs. Itkoff noting she had been a valued member, but informing her that she would have to step down as a volunteer, “effective immediately.”

The National MS Society informed Mrs. Itkoff that the nonprofit will no longer affiliate with her Lakewood/Long Beach Self-Help Group which could continue to meet independently from the Society.

The Daily Mail reports that sparked an outcry and anger over the elderly volunteer’s treatment across multiple social media platforms, but the MS Society stood by its decision. The newspaper listed many of the comments:

“I’ve had MS for 10 years, and I am grateful for people like Fran, who has volunteered for 60 years to help end MS in our time.”

“This woman has dedicated six decades of her life helping your organisation. What did she do that was so terrible that you had to fire her?

“This is so sad. This job may be the one thing that kept her going in life and they’ve stolen it from her for the sake of optics. I lost my mother to MS. I’m furious over this.”

“My heart breaks for the woman who has given so much to an unappreciative organisation.”

“Intolerance and AGEISM!! Not a good look, MS Society.

“At this point it appears the MS Society doesn’t deserve support if it treats longtime volunteers this badly.”

‘This is ridiculous! This world is upside down. Won’t give to them anymore.”

Mrs. Itkoff’s daughter Elle Hamilton said: ‘To me it’s ironic, because they are saying they are inclusive, but they are excluding a 90-year-old disabled woman who has volunteered for 60 years. And literally her sole purpose was to help the MS patients and find a cure. That’s literally all she does.”

Photo: Facebook