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Professional Trainer Mistakes Pokémon Symbols for Gender Symbols in Viral Video

Newsweek logo Newsweek 5/11/2021 Sara Santora
TikTok © thegouldenstandard/TikTok Screenshot TikTok

When one TikToker joined their company's 10 a.m. professional development meeting, they were shocked to find that the trainer, who was educating employees on LGBTQ+ issues, seemed to be in need of some training themselves.

Instead of displaying the symbols that represent different gender identities and sexual orientation symbols, the trainer apparently displayed a chart of symbols from the Pokémon franchise.

The viral TikTok has over one million views and over 300,000 likes. In the video, @thegouldenstandard shows the audience the chart of symbols used in the presentation, as well as the email they sent to the trainer in response to the mix-up.

"I had to write a professional email, letting her know of the mistake ..." the creator said.

The email began by thanking the trainer for their "time and expertise." However, the TikToker corrected the speaker by providing a photo of the symbols used in the presentation, along with a proper table of gender identity and sexual orientation symbols.

"There was a photo in your presentation with the different gender identities and sexual orientations," the email read. "As a young nerd who identifies as an LGBTQ+ individual, I felt obligated to let you know that I believe you are using an incorrect photo. The photo (see below) shows a type of character from the Pokemon franchise known as Unown."

The TikToker also provided a link to Bulbapedia, a community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia. According to Bulbapedia, "Unown is an extremely rare Pokémon that lives in its own dimension and rarely ventures outside. When it moves to the Pokémon world, Unown tends to stick to walls like engravings of ancient texts or orbit other Unown."


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The fictional species resembles hieroglyphic markings. It's unclear how the trainer charged with leading a discussion on LGBTQ+ issues could mistake a gender identity and sexual orientation chart with a Pokémon Unown chart. The TikToker was clearly unimpressed.

"It's, like, 10 in the morning, it's too early for that," @thegouldenstandard said in the video.

Commenters quickly shared that while the mistake is funny, it's also disappointing.

Said one: "[T]his is funny but also ... really depressing that the person teaching didn't know what they were teaching about."

"[F]ull offence [sic] to her, anyone who could possibly make that mistake should not be considered a professional," said another.

Others joked that the Unown symbols should be used as gender identity symbols moving forward.

"Okay, I actually identify way more with those symbols tho ... she might be onto something," said a commenter.

"Guys please I'm begging ya'll can we change the symbols to the Unknown [sic]" asked another in jest.

Many users are curious to know what the trainer said in response to the email and hope that the TikToker will make a follow-up video.

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