The gender-neutral, gender-inclusive title “Mx.” has been in use for decades, but many people are still unfamiliar with its meaning. Mx. is becoming more mainstream, with the U.K. leading the way in official acceptance.
Read on to discover the meaning, history, and legal usage of Mx.
Mx. is a gender-neutral title used instead of Mr., Mrs., Ms., and other honorific titles that imply gender. It is used in front of a person’s full name or surname by those who prefer not to identify themselves as male or female.
Though it is still new to many, Mx. has been around for decades and is a commonly used gender-neutral title for non-binary people and others who prefer not to attach a gender to their name.
Mx. is gender-neutral in the same way Ms. is neutral for marital status. However, while Ms. is used by people who identify as female, Mx. is gender inclusive. Anyone of any gender identity, including transgender, cisgender, binary, and non-binary people, can all use the Mx. title if they wish.
There are several pronunciations of Mx., including:
In the UK, məx is the most popular pronunciation. The U.K. is also the most likely place to see the Mx. option available on any type of official form. It appears on approximately 37% of official papers.
According to anecdotal evidence, the original creator of Mx. is currently uncredited, but the title has been in use since at least the 1960s. The earliest print evidence of the title was in a short story published in 1977 in the U.S.-based magazine Single Parent.
The earliest documented use of the word on the internet was in 1982 in what appears to be a facetious suggestion about eliminating all gender-identifying titles.
Facetious or not, the article sparked attention and resulted in many people remarking that they liked the idea of using Mx. One researcher suggests that the first person to actively, seriously, use the Mx. title on the internet cross-posted several comments in United Kingdom newsgroups bringing attention to the title’s viability in an inclusive society.
In the early 2000s, Mx. became increasingly popular in U.K. trans communities and among genderqueer people. By 2013, the title began appearing on many standard drop-down forms.
In the 2019 gender census, over 31% of respondents chose Mx. as their preferred title. Mx. continues to make its way into the mainstream of language, including being used in media, literature, and government documents.
The U.K. is currently leading the acceptance of Mx. in official use. Institutions such as the Royal Mail, public agencies responsible for issuing driving licenses, and most major banks include the option for Mx. on their documents.
The title is also accepted by organizations such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the National Health Service, and HM Revenue and Customs, along with various utility retailers, councils, insurance companies, and academic institutions in the United Kingdom.
In 2015, the House of Commons of the United Kingdom asserted that the use of Mx. is accepted by members of Parliament.
Honorific titles are not legal names, so there is no need to execute a deed poll to use Mx. Deed polls are needed to change a person’s name, not their title. You can simply use the title as you wish.
If needed, you can ask any relevant organization to switch the title in their system. Women who marry and adopt the Mrs. title are free to request similar title changes, and this is done at no charge. There’s no need to view the title change as a problematic or controversial request.