It’s only a couple of letters but the honorific “Mx” could speak volumes for the transgender community.
The Oxford English Dictionary is considering including the gender neutral title Mx in its next edition to represent transgender people and those who don’t identify by gender.
The gender neutral honorific, pronounced mux, would be an alternative to the traditional Miss, Mrs, Ms and Mr.
Until now, anyone who does not identify as either male or female has had no gender neutral title to choose from.
Assistant editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Jonathan Dent, told the Sunday Times Mx was under consideration and it would be the first addition to the accepted stable of honorifics in recent history.
Executive director of Transgender Victoria, Sally Goldner, told the ABC a third of transgender people identified as neither male nor female, so providing a gender-neutral term would alleviate distress for many people.
“Sadly, in the past, some people who have felt difficulty in this situation have just used, if I can be a little light hearted, reverend or doctor,” she said.
“They’ve never been queried about it, and it just saves a whole heap of trouble.”
Ms Goldner said putting down a gender title which one does not identify with can cause stress and anxiety.
“(The new title) will give flexibility and respect in a lot of ways,” she said.
The OED adds new words each year based on the popularity of their use. In 2013 it revealed “selfie” as its word of the year and last year added “vape”, meaning to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette.