In the U.K., people who don’t identify as male or female, or who prefer not to disclose their gender, can now choose to be addressed by the honorific “Mx” rather than “Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms” on official documents such as a driver’s licence or a bank statement.
The trend, which is also gaining popularity in the U.S., goes hand in hand with the growing use of the pronoun “they” to describe an individual.
Ido Katri, a doctoral candidate in law who is involved in transgender rights, says “Mx” may be a useful option for some members of the trans and “genderqueer” community. But Katri, whose research looks at government-issued identification for trans people, questions any designation that would identify people as gender non-conformist. “I can see on one hand why people would want to use something like ‘Mx,’ but I see this as potentially another tool to mark and surveil trans people,” Katri says.