Gender neutral titles
Data provided by the 2019 Gender Census.
A gender neutral title is an alternative to the gendered honorifics Miss, Mrs, Ms and Mr, for people who don't fit the gender binary and therefore don't feel that a gendered title fits their identity. It is used in formal situations when it is inappropriate to refer to someone by their first or last name only. However, there is quite a lot of people who would prefer to never be referred to with a title. In the 2019 Gender Census, 33% of respondents didn't want to use a title for themselves.
For the most part, gender neutral titles without qualification/career connotations are not recognised by the general public or businesses/organisations. Activists and supporters are working toward awareness and acceptance of alternative titles. The generally accepted gender neutral titles are associated with qualifications and careers, such as Dr (Doctor) and Rev (Reverend).
For some nonbinary folk, being referred to with a gendered title can trigger gender dysphoria.
Changing your title[edit | edit source]
United Kingdom[edit | edit source]
A Deed Poll can be used to change your name and/or your title free of charge, if you can get two witnesses together.
A Statutory Declaration of title change can be drawn up and presented to a regular solicitor to witness/sign for a cost of approximately £10.00 (this usually includes a couple of legal copies); having the solicitor draw the document up for you may incur a much higher cost (£70.00+). You do not usually need to make an appointment for this service as the process only takes a few minutes.
The Deed Poll Service notes that “There's no need to follow any formal procedure (such as executing a Deed Poll) if you only wish to change your title. You simply need to start using your new title and notify all the record holders that you have changed it.” The UK Deed Poll Service also offer the gender-inclusive title Mx.
There is, however, no need to use a paid service to create a Deed Poll. "DIY" versions are just as valid.
List of gender neutral titles[edit | edit source]
Here follows an alphabetical list of gender-neutral or specifically nonbinary titles that are alternatives to Mr. and Ms.
Ind[edit | edit source]
How to use: Ind. Sam Smith, Ind. Smith.
Pronunciation: "ind" (IPA: ˌɪnd) or "individual".
History: The Ind title was coined by Torin "MinimalistFish" Unrealisk in early 2014, a genderless individual who goes by the Ind title. Unrealisk proposed it in a post to a social blogging website, Tumblr.
Meaning: According to the one who coined it, Ind is short for "Individual". This title may be more appropriate for those who do not feel "mixed gender" implied titles meets their gender-neutral standards. Ind was designed to be entirely free of gender, thus making it an attractive option for agender and gender nonconforming individuals. For more information, see the post in which it was coined.
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Ind was chosen by 3% respondents.
M[edit | edit source]
How to use: M Smith. M. Smith.
Pronunciation: Pronounced em (IPA: ɛm), like the name of the letter M.
Meaning: Meant to be a neutral title that is not based off "mixing" binary genders. Based on the gendered titles Mr and Ms, just without the second letter.
Examples of use: In science fiction by Dan Simmons, Hyperion Cantos, all adult humans go by the title M.
Similar-looking titles: One potential problem with the neutral title "M" is confusion with the French title "M." short for "Monsieur," which is masculine, not neutral.  It can also be confused for a first initial.
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, M was chosen by 0.2% of the respondents.
Mir[edit | edit source]
How to use: Mir Sam Smith. Mir Smith.
Pronunciation: Pronounced like "mer" in merlin (IPA: / mɜr /).
Use: In the 2019 Gender Cenus, Mir was chosen by less than 0.1% of respondents.
Misc[edit | edit source]
How to use: Misc Sam Smith. Misc Smith.
Pronunciation: Pronounced "misk" (IPA: mɪsk).
History and meaning: The roots of the word miscellaneous comes from the Latin *miscellus*, meaning “mixed,” following the rationale that a lot of nonbinary people would say that they have aspects of various genders at various times. First known mention in January 2011.
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Misc was chosen by less than 0.1% of respondents.
Mre[edit | edit source]
How to use: Mre. Smith.
Pronunciation: Pronounced mystery or misstree.
History and meaning: A play on nonbinary gender often being perceived as "mysterious." One potential problem is that it contains the "mister" and "miss" sounds in the beginning. In 2001, Liz Menzel wrote, "As Mr. is short for Mister, and Mrs. was once short for Mistress, how about Mre., for 'Mistree' (or I suppose for 'mystery,' for those who demand their spelling)."
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Mre was chosen by less than 0.1% of respondents.
Msr[edit | edit source]
How to use: Msr Smith.
Pronunciation: Pronounced misser.
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Msr was chosen by less than 0.1% of respondents.
Mx[edit | edit source]
For more information, see main article: Mx.
How to use: Mx Sam Smith. Mx Smith.
History: It's not yet known who created the Mx title, when, or what their original intentions were. There is anecdotal evidence that someone went by this title "in about 1965," and the earliest known recorded mention of the Mx title was in 1977. The earliest recorded mention of the Mx title on the Internet was in 1982, and the earliest person found on the Internet earnestly and actively using Mx as their title was in 1998. People began using Mx more often starting around 2000. In 2015, assistant editor of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Jonathan Dent said that they are considering putting Mx into the OED, and it was added in August 2015.
Pronunciation: There are several different pronunciations of Mx, including muks (IPA: məks or mʌks), mix, em ex, mixter,, or mixture. A 2014 survey of 118 people found the most popular pronunciations in the UK was "məks" (by 43%), and worldwide was "mix" (42%).
Meaning: The x acts as a wild card, taking the usual title format of Mr and Ms, and putting in an x to remove the gender in the title.
Popularity: In the 2019 Gender Census, Mx was chosen by 31.3% of respondents. As the result of nonbinary activists asking companies to offer the Mx title as an option in paperwork, this option is becoming more widely available and well-established. As of February 2015, "31 major and respected companies, organisations and governmental departments in the UK" have been shown to give this option.
Mv.[edit | edit source]
Myr[edit | edit source]
Myr, or myr, used as a gender neutral title, honorific, and proper noun in science fiction books by David Marusek. Its plural form is myren.
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Myr was chosen by less than 0.1% of respondents. 
Mzr[edit | edit source]
How to use: Mzr. Jones
Use: A variation on Msr.
Pr[edit | edit source]
How to use: Pr Smith.
Pronunciation: The title Pr is pronounced "per" (IPA, UK: pɜː(ɹ), US: pɝ)
Meaning: It is intended as an abbreviation of "person". (source needed)
Similar-looking titles: Pr. is also the title given to a Christian pastor.
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Pr was chosen by less than 0.1% of respondents.
Sai[edit | edit source]
Sai. In The Dark Tower, the title "Sai" is a gender neutral title, the equivalent Mr or Ms, as well as the honorifics sir or ma'am.
Pronunciation: The title Sai is pronounced "sigh".
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Sai was chosen by less than 0.1% of respondents.
Ser[edit | edit source]
Pronunciation: Pronounced sair, to rhyme with hair.
History and meaning (as a gender-neutral title): Used as a gender-neutral version of "Sir" in works of fiction such as Greg Bear's The Way novels, and the Dragon Age series of video games.
Similar-looking titles: While the title "Ser" is hundreds of years old, and has been used in a lot of media, it does not always mean the same thing, and is not gender-neutral in all cases. It's also not always equivalent to Mr or Ms, and may imply that a person has a specific profession or status. In the 1400s, "Ser" was "an honorific title usually given to notaries." In the seventeenth century in Tuscany, "Ser" was one of the titles given to physicians, and thus equivalent to "Doctor". In Game of Thrones, "Ser" is the title given to knights, who are mostly male except in the case of Ser Brienne of Tarth. Many examples of fiction use Ser, but they don't all use it to mean the same thing, as can be seen in TV Tropes's article about Ser and other unusual honorifics in fiction. "Ser" is also not to be confused with a similar title, "Sr," meaning "sister," the title given to a Catholic nun.
Use: In the 2019 Gender Census, Ser was chosen by 0.1% of respondents.
Vx[edit | edit source]
How to use: Vx. Doe
A derivative of "Mx," this title appears to have been coined and primarily seen adoption on the Fediverse.
Zr[edit | edit source]
How to use: Zr. Smith
Pronunciation: Pronounced zeester
History and meaning: Invented by Alex Kapitan in 2007.
Use: The Zr. title is used by activist/educator Alex Kapitan.
See Also[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
- Gender Queeries: Gender Neutral / Queer Titles
- Genderqueer in the UK: Misc, or Mix: A Gender-neutral Title
- TV Tropes: Fantastic Honorifics. On unusual titles and honorifics in fiction, only some of which are gender-neutral.
- Wikipedia: Gender neutral title
References[edit | edit source]
- Gender Census 2019 - The Full Report (Worldwide), April 2019
- The Growing Use of Mx as a Gender-inclusive Title in the UK, captured August 2017.
- Conversation thread between Orion Scribner (frameacloud) and Torin Unrealisk (minimalistfish). 2014-11-12. A Glorious Abscence of Gender (personal blog). Torin Unrealisk. http://minimalistfish.tumblr.com/post/102483931685/torin-unrealisk-thank-you-for-what-you-wrote-about-the Or archive: http://frameacloud.tumblr.com/post/102488535511/torin-unrealisk-thank-you-for-what-you-wrote-about-the
- Torin Unrealisk (minimalistfish). "Ind. as a gender neutral title?" 2014-02-15. A Glorious Abscence of Gender (personal blog). Torin Unrealisk. http://minimalistfish.tumblr.com/post/76750503799/ind-as-a-gender-neutral-title Or archive: http://frameacloud.tumblr.com/post/102470317561/ind-as-a-gender-neutral-title
- Cassian Lotte Lodge (cassolotl). "Mx has been around since the 1960s." November 26, 2014. Blog post. http://cassolotl.tumblr.com/post/103645470405
- octopus8. November 18, 2014. Comment on news article. http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2014/nov/17/rbs-bank-that-likes-to-say-mx#comment-43834815
- Practical Androgyny [@PractiAndrogyny] (4 May 2015). "The text of the 1977 Single Parent magazine article that coins Mx books.google.co.uk/books?id=IgwdAQAAMAAJ&dq=editions%3ALCCNsc83001271&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=Mx Huge thanks to Alex and everyone else who helped" – via Twitter.
- The Single Parent, vol 20. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IgwdAQAAMAAJ&dq=editions%3ALCCNsc83001271&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=Mx
- Nat Titman, "When was the Mx gender-inclusive title created?" August 28, 2014. Practical Androgyny. http://practicalandrogyny.com/2014/08/28/when-was-the-mx-gender-inclusive-title-created/
- Cassian Lotte Lodge, "The growing use of Mx as a gender-inclusive title in the UK." Version 2.5. May 9, 2015. http://mxactivist.tumblr.com/post/118514708025
- Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith, "Gender neutral honorific Mx 'to be included' in the Oxford English Dictionary alongside Mr, Ms and Mrs and Miss." May 3, 2015. The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/gender-neutral-honorific-mx-to-be-included-in-the-oxford-english-dictionary-alongside-mr-ms-and-mrs-and-miss-10222287.html
- Mary Papenfuss, "Oxford Dictionary may include gender-neutral honorific 'Mx'." May 5, 2015. International Business Times. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/oxford-dictionary-may-include-gender-neutral-honorific-mx-1499626
- Gender-Neutral Title Mx Added to Oxford English Dictionary, out.com, 27th August 2015. Captured April 2016.
- Cassian Lotte Lodge, "On the pronunciation of Mx." November 27, 2014. Blog post. http://cassolotl.tumblr.com/post/103744029100
- "Beyond the binary question twenty three." July 8, 2013. Blog post. https://cnlester.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/beyond-the-binary-question-twenty-three/
- Cassian Lotte Lodge, "On the pronunciation of Mx." November 27, 2014. Blog post. http://cassolotl.tumblr.com/post/103744029100
- Cassian Lotte Lodge (mxactivist). "There’s a new UK Mx evidence PDF up." February 6, 2015. Blog post. http://mxactivist.tumblr.com/post/110248930295
- "Gender Jargon: Transgender and IMOGA Terms 2020". 12 May 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- cicadacicada. "New gender-neutral title." http://cicadacicada.tumblr.com/post/13856770096/new-gender-neutral-title
- "Pr Christie Elan-Cane v Woman's Own about Accuracy." January 31, 2001. http://presscomplaints.org/case/3431/
- Girolamo Savonarola, A guide to righteous living and other works. p. 149.
- David Gentilcore, Healers and healing in early modern Italy. p. 58.
- "Knighthood." Game of Thrones Wiki. http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Knighthood