University scraps titles, no more Mr, Ms or Mrs

South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand has taken a decision not to use titles such as Mr‚ Ms or Mrs to reflect a student’s designation in university correspondence and on its student systems, in order to reduce distress for transgender students, writes Prega Govender for Times Live.

“The university realises that it is invalidating and distressing for a person who‚ for example‚ was assigned female at birth but identifies as male to be constantly addressed by a non-affirming title in university correspondence and systems,” it said in a statement, adding that people who were transgender or non-binary increasingly opted to use the gender-neutral title ‘Mx’ which is legally recognised in many countries across the world.

But the university said that while students could elect how to be addressed within the university community‚ it could not change a student’s title on any legal documentation like certificates. Tish Lumos‚ the programme co-ordinator for sexual orientation and gender identity advocacy at the Wits Transformation and Employment Equity Office‚ said there was an institutional culture in places of higher education that can be very isolating for people who were transgender‚ gender queer and non-binary.
Full report on the Times Live site