Gender Neutral Honorific Title Mx Gains Acceptance: From Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms, to Mx
The title 'Mx' is gaining in popularity as a Gender Neutral Honorific for addresses and forms. It is set to replace other honorific titles such as Sir, Master, Madam, Miss, Mrs and Ms. The Oxford English Dictionary is considering adding 'Mx' to its records because of its growing use and popularity. It already has a wiki entry.
The term 'Mx' as a title dates back to the 1980s. It was created as an alternative to gender based honorifics when the sex of the person you are contacting is unclear or is inappropriate. The Brighton and Hove city council in England, voted in 2013 to allow the used of 'Mx' on council forms. Also a year later, in 2014, The Royal Bank of Scotland added "Mx" as a title option for its forms. In 2015, the recognition of this title has spread to many UK institutions, including government agencies, banks and the Royal Mail. It is even allowed on passports and drivers' licenses in the UK.
The 'Mx' title is often pronounced “Mux or “Mix”, and sometimes sounds quite similar to "Ms". It is used in the same same way as other honorific titles. So, for example, 'Mr John Smith' becomes 'Mx Jay Smith.
Why and When is a Gender Neutral Honorific Title Necessary?
While the term may be particularly suitable for trans people or other who do not wish to identify themselves as male or female for whatever reason.
However, the title may get more widespread use as an alternative for "Dear Sir or Madam", which is very clumsy.
Similarly in the less personal age of the internet the gender of the person with who you are communicating may be unclear, or irrelevant.
The widespread use of some first names for both males and females, nicknames and avatars may mean that a more generic title could save embarrassment.
The term 'Ms' has become popular as a more generic term which avoids specifying the marital status of women. It is often used by people who are unclear which of the alternatives may apply for the person they are addressing.
Eventually the title may be accepted as a way of addressing someone when their sex is unclear or unknown, for similar reasons.
The acceptance of the title "Mr" and its inclusion in the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary could lift the status and acceptance of the title.
It is important to give people a variety of options in drop down menus for forms and on the internet so they can use the title they are comfortable with. Add the option "Mx' would seem to be appropriate.
It remains to be seen whether the honorific title "Mx" becomes more widely used and accepted in the general community.
© 2015 Dr. John Anderson
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