Gendered titles such as Mr, Ms and Mrs are widely used in British culture and having to choose between binary options can feel uncomfortable for those of us who are non-binary. Non-binary titles such as Mx, Misc, Per or Sr (you can find a longer list here) can be used as an alternative to Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs. You can freely use any ‘social title’ (e.g. Mr, Mrs, Mx etc as opposed to honour titles like Lady and Sir), which doesn’t have to match either your gender identity or legally recognised gender. However, in practice it can be difficult to get some places to accept non-binary titles and you may have to write letters or switch services to a more accepting alternative. This is beginning to change, as an increasing number of companies recognise non-binary titles.
Some people have also reported problems when using a title that doesn’t match their gender presentation – such as staff assuming they are using a credit card fraudulently – but you are legally entitled to do so. A change of title can be included in a deed poll document, but this isn’t required. Some people prefer to use no title – again this can be difficult to get accepted in practice. A tip is to put a space or a full stop into title options.
Acceptance of non-binary titles
Speaking to UK Trans Info, the Information Commissioner’s office who make sure the Data Protection Act is being followed said they would encourage companies to record gender neutral titles. However, at the moment organisations are not required to accept non-binary titles. More and more places are starting to accept them, but you might want to vote with your feet and choose alternatives which do.
If you want a non-binary title but don’t have a strong preference which one, you are likely to findMx ( a gender-inclusive title which is also used by binary-gendered people who are uncomfortable with gendered titles) slightly more frequently accepted: see RBS and Brighton City.
Even if a company does not provide non-binary title options on it’s forms, it’s often worth writing and asking them to change your title – you can find some good example letters onhttp://mxactivist.tumblr.com/.
You can also use the following resources to find places which accept non-binary titles or no title:
Mx evidence document – for Mx only
Longer term change
Longer-term change so that our titles and genders are recognised everywhere are achievable but will only happen if we campaign and work for them. Groups that campaign on non-binary titles whose actions you can join in with include Mx Activist and the Nonbinary Inclusion Project.
You can legally use any non-binary title you want to, but companies are not required to accept them.
Mx is the most widely accepted gender-neutral title.
You can use the resources above to find places that will let you use your title.
Even if a company does not have your title on its forms, you can write and ask them to use it.
Article written by Alex.
Image by Maki Yamazaki.