South Africa’s prestigious Wits University has dropped gender prefixes – Mr, Ms and Mrs – from all university communication to create a more inclusive environment for students who are transgender‚ non-binary or gender non-conforming.
“Now they can specify the title they would like to have,” says a spokesperson at the university’s Transformation and Employment Equity Office, even if it’s not linked to legal documentation. Explaining the decision, she added:
“Addressing somebody by a particular name or title are intrinsically affirming for people who are transgender or gender non-conforming or gender queer. It makes you part of the university culture if you feel you are visibly appreciated and respected.”
The gender-neutral title “Mx”, which is widely recognised in many countries across the world, is increasingly popular, the university said in a statement.
South Africa’s Gender and Quality Commission has called the change at Wits University “very progressive”, according to news site Eyewitness News, adding they “hope this can be taken forward” nationwide.