Oxford University is now giving staff and students the option to use the gender-neutral title ‘Mx’ (pronounced ‘mux’, ‘mix’, or ‘mixter’) in official records, as an alternative to the previous gendered titles.
The change, which is understood to have been introduced following consultation with OUSU and the LGBTQ Society, came into effect at the end of last term. Individuals will also have the option of giving no title at all.
Current students who would prefer to adopt the gender-neutral title or use no title at all are able to change their records through their colleges or departments. Undergraduate and Postgraduate students applying for entry in 2015 will also be able to make use of the title.
Rowan Davis, trans rep for Oxford University LGBTQ Society told Cherwell, “Providing an option for gender neutral titles is vital for producing a safer space for trans people.”
A spokesperson for the University commented, “The University is now giving students the option to use the gender-neutral title ‘Mx’ on official administrative systems.”
They continued, “The decision follows the gradual adoption of ‘Mx’ as the most commonly-recognised gender-neutral title in the UK. It is now used by the Passport service, the DVLA, many high street banks and an increasing number of universities. The University’s admissions service UCAS has also decided to introduce the ‘Mx’ option for applicants in the 2015 cycle”.
‘Mx’ is the most popular gender neutral title among non-binary people. Usage of the title was given a boost when, in 2013, Brighton and Hove City Council voted to allow it on council forms, though it does not yet have widespread official recognition across the rest of the country.
LGBTQ Soc trans rep Alyson Cruise remarked, “It’s taken some time, but we are really happy with how hard the University is working to improve the experience of being trans at Oxford. There are still some holdouts around but the uni as a whole is really trying.”
Likewise, Oriel College LGBTQ rep Kate Bradley told Cherwell, “The introduction of Mx is good news for all gender non-binary and trans people at Oxford, but it’s also great for anyone who feels uncomfortable providing their gender in situations where it seems irrelevant. In the wake of news that Ruskin College will be providing gender-neutral toilets on campus soon, I think all of us can feel like progress is really being made”.
However, some sources within LGBTQ Soc have suggested that a preferable option would be to expand the options available to students, rather than offer just one gender neutral title option.
An anonymous trans student told Cherwell that it would be preferable “for the University to look at the possibility of having a blank box to be filled in” by people, so that they are able to choose their own title; there are a number of additional titles that transpeople may wish to adopt, including ‘Misc’ (from the Latin word ‘miscellus’, meaning ‘mixed’), or ‘Ind’ (short for ‘individual’).
The University made headlines two years ago when it changed its dress code policy to allow people to wear non-gender specific subfusc.