One of England’s biggest councils is to adopt gender neutral titles on forms.
Oxford City Council has approved plans to include ‘Mx’ as an option on paperwork, alongside traditional terms such as Miss, Ms, Mrs and Mr. The move was recommended by the council’s Equality and Diversity Group as a means of becoming more trans-inclusive.
The group made the recommendation in a report considering how inclusive the council’s policies are. They suggested:
Clearly the council needs to build confidence in the monitoring that it does. Otherwise employees will go on declining to disclose and the council will keep on facing under-reporting.
In particular, the council can take practical steps to build a workplace that’s friendlier to transgender employees, and how we gather together personal information on employees is central to that.
Councillor Tom Hayes, Vice-Chair of Oxford City Council Scrutiny Committee told The Independent:
The council’s workforce has been changing to look more like the diverse communities that it serves. Good policies have helped to bring this about and tackle discrimination but further improvements are possible. In particular, the Council can take practical steps to build a workplace that’s friendlier to transgender employees, and how we gather together personal information on employees is central to that.
‘Mx’ is increasing in use as a gender neutral alternative to terms which reflect the traditional gender binary of male/ female. Some people who are non-binary, or do not identify with either traditional gender, prefer the term as they identify as gender neutral, or as being a mix of genders. Some cis, or non-transgender, people also opt to use the title as they feel paperwork can often be overly and unnecessarily gendered.
Mx is an option on paperwork at a number of high street banks, government departments, universities, Royal Mail and on drivers licenses.
Brighton and Hove City Council became the first local authority to include ‘Mx’ on their forms in 2013. However, Oxford City Council is believed to be the largest council to do so to date.