It has recently been reported in the media that Oxford City Council has made the decision to introduce a gender-neutral salutation option of Mx – pronounced ‘mix’ – whilst it decides whether to phase out all titles from forms completely. It is understood that a panel of councillors recommended this addition to make the forms as ‘inclusive as possible’.
It has been reported that Oxford Council’s move came after a review of equality and diversity policies, following confirmation that many LGBT staff members were reluctant to reveal their sexuality in internal surveys.
In response, some have posed the question whether this could be considered a worthwhile measure, or a costly and over-cautious way to ensure political correctness, at the Tax Payers’ expense?
Opinion is quite clearly divided on this subject, with it being reported that a former Conservative MP has commented that “it’s a waste of time and achieves nothing” whilst implying that it is another example of the over-application of political correctness.
However, this decision has been well received by Oxford Pride. The group’s chairman, Rob Jordan has been reported to have commented that, “this is a progressive step that can only be welcomed”. However, he did make it clear that he would not support the scrapping of Mr and Mrs.
It would seem that Rob Jordan’s sentiment is reflected in the Council’s current position, as Mx has simply been added as an option alongside the existing title options.
It is the writer’s opinion that so long as titles such as Mr and Mrs are not abolished, the inclusion of the gender-neutral, Mx, should be considered a valuable tool in ensuring inclusion for every member of society.
Following this introduction, it appears that others are clearly taking note. For example, it has been reported that Brighton and Hove City Council have already considered adopting the new title in their online forms, confirming that ‘Mx’ may be here to stay and will be a regular occurrence on forms in the future.
Contributed to by discrimination advisor, Gemma Wilson