Margaret Dylan Jones
W.A. composer, pianist,
teacher, article writer
About Mx, with Miss, Mrs, Mr, Ms,
Five appendices to
by Margaret Dylan Jones
15, 2015. Last
update: December 6, 2015 at 10 am
Navigation in these appendices
Click on a heading to jump to that section, or simply scroll down.
Click on Top
to come back
Headings in the main
in a separate page):
Documentation of real Mx usage from 2002 onwards
1982, Mx in fiction and the Usenet
Issues for form makers
Resources for allies
Aims of this article
Navigation in this article
What is your gender anyway?
About my rough definitions
The origins of Mx, and who has been using it
What are titles for?
The exclusivity of titles
People who have no gender
My long and successful use of Mx
Benefits, and what other users say
Theory versus practice
Transsexual men and women: Mr and Mrs
1977, 1982: Nothing to see here, move along folks
Is Mx subversive, revolutionary, or evolutionary?
Personal pronouns: the singular they
The advantages of Mx and Mix
Appearances are not deceiving, except when they are
Mx is not a panacea—regrettable mistakes
A case of mistaken identities?
The genderless agenda
How to avoid stating your gender without using Mx
How to address someone when you don't know their gender, without using
Why supporters should not use Mx
What allies can do
More consequences of random use
Mx in dictionaries
Is Mx gender-neutral?
Organisations accepting Mx
Form makers and designers
Media Style Guides
Call out to others using Mx or Mix
Appendix One: Rough definitions
An overview of the gender terms as I have used them in this article.
Cisgender man, cisgender woman, cisgender
person: a person who has
grown up identifying perfectly well with the gender or sex they were
born (and with only that one). Most people are cisgender so this
probably refers to you. If it's a new term to you, don't fret about it,
it just means a person who is not transgender and not transsexual. Cisgender
is pronounced siss-gender and
from Latin, where cis- means 'on this side of.'
Transsexual person: someone who has a gender
identity of man or woman, but was born with a body that has the
opposite anatomy. It's a
generalisation, but they seem to have exclusively male or exclusively
female identities. Many have changed, or would like to change, their
body to be physically the opposite sex to the way they were born so
that their body matches their innate gender identity (how they think of
themself). A transman was born with a female body and a transwoman
born with a male body, though to the best of my knowledge most such
people prefer to be simply known as men or women, respectively. Some
individuals might not be able, or might not even want, to change their
bodies by very much, but I believe they identify exclusively as men or
women, not as mixtures.
Transgender person: someone whose innate gender
identity is not
exclusively male or female. They might identify as a mixture of male
and female, or as not having a gender at all. Or their gender identity
might change from time to time between various genders, having no
gender, or having a gender mix. Some transgender people change their
bodies in ways that are similar to transsexual people. Transgender
often used as an even wider umbrella term to include transsexual people
and others, or simply to include people identifying as any gender other
than the one they were thought to be or were assigned when they were
born, but that's not how I use it here—for this article I'm using it in
a more narrow way where it does not include transsexual people. In this
article transgender means non-binary transgender.
Intersex person: a person born with reproductive
and/or sex chromosomes that are not exclusively male or female. (Based
on IFAS, 2002, modified.) Most intersex people are
That is, most intersex people have a gender identity which is
exclusively male or exclusively female (just like most people in
society at large).
Androgyne (noun): a person whose gender identity
is not exclusively
male or female and who may or may not also be intersex. (Based on IFAS,
2002, modified.) An androgyne is a type of transgender
person who might
or might not also be intersex. Androgyne comes from ancient Greek and
Latin, where andr- means man and gyné- means woman. The modern word
refers to how a person thinks of themself, it's a type of gender
identity. I'm an androgyne. See more about androgynes below.
Agender people: individuals who identify as
genderless or have a
non-gender identity. That is, they do not feel masculine or feminine,
and they do not feel like a mixture of masculine and feminine. Some are
comfortable being included under the umbrella term of transgender, and
some are not.
The gender binary: the ridiculous twentieth
century Western notion that all people are necessarily either masculine
or feminine, and male or female. Fortunately, this misconception is
Non-binary gender: a gender identity which is not
or feminine. This could refer to transgender and agender individuals,
or androgynes, for example.
All these terms refer to people but you can't define people very well,
so they are always going to be very loose approximations that are used
for convenience. I've tried to keep them to the bare minimum in number.
More about androgynes
Generally speaking, it is incorrect to describe
an androgyne as androgynous, and most androgynes do not like to
be so described. That adjective is informed by the notion of the gender
binary and means androgynous man or androgynous woman.
It implies a type of fashion or style. We
don't consider ourselves exclusively masculine or feminine, or we are both
men and women. Androgyne
means a person who has a gender identity of androgyne, it does not
refer to their appearance or gender expression. A person who looks
androgynous might or might not be an androgyne, and an androgyne might
or might not look androgynous (they may look like a man or a woman).
The androgynous look is just
that—it's the way some people
choose to look, as a fashion statement. A person with an androgynous
look might or might not be an androgyne as their gender identity may
have nothing to do with their apprearance.
Androgyne is sometimes misspelt androgen, which is unfortunate
because that's a medical word with a rather different meaning. Androgen
and androgenous mean something like
'masculinized,' as androgen refers to a group of masculinizing hormones
which includes testosterone. This misspelling, or misuse of the word androgen
can cause confusion with the term Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome
(AIS), a form of intersex variation.
Androgyne has nothing to do with asexual.
Androgyne does not mean ambiguous—let's be clear
Androgyne DOES mean combination of male and female, or
masculine and feminine. Some androgynes find they ARE masculine at
times, or feminine, or a mixture, or genderless. The word to use for
someone like myself is androgyne, a noun.
For more about this see:
Appendix Two: Documentation of real Mx
usage from 2002
androgenous (adj) 1. (Biology) biology producing
only male offspring.
androgenous (adj) pertaining
to the production of or tending to produce male offspring.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: Adj.
androgenous - of or related to androgenesis
for corrections to incorrect use of androgenous (the first definition
by i_am_redgirl August 20, 2007, is in error; scroll down to the
Some of the many documents I have kept which show Mx used as a title
These early formal records are letters from my medical specialist to my
doctor, from one of my sheet music publishers, a phone bill, an
electricity bill, and statements from BankCard, AMEX, Medicare, the tax
office and others. See scans of all these at mixmargaret.com/Mx-title-scans-of-usage-from-2002-onwards.html
2002 September 26, MX JONES, ATO tax return sent form.
2002 December 7, RE: MX MARGARET JONES, and Cc Mx Margaret Jones.
Patient copy of a letter from my medical specialist to my GP.
2003 January 24, Mx Margaret Jones, letter from Allans Music (then the
largest Australian sheet music publisher), about copyright and
2003 February 21, MX MD JONES, Telstra telephone bill.
2003 March 18, MX M D JONES, Western Power electricity bill.
2003 April, MX MARGARET D JONES, CBA bankcard statement.
2004 July, Mx Margaret D Jones, AMEX letter about changes to credit
2004 December 6, MX M JONES, Medicare Statement of Benefit.
2005 January 8, MX MARGARET D JONES, ATO (tax office) statement.
Appendix Three: 1977, 1982, Mx in fiction
and the Usenet
A short story or article by fiction writer Pat Kite, published in 1977,
seems to be the earliest use of Mx in print. It’s in The Single
magazine, volume 20, April 1977, in an article called Single-Again
See scans of it at http://books.google.co.uk
A man and a woman are at
a party having a conversation about
gendered titles. The woman says:
“… Anyhow, if Mrs. and Miss are to be
shortened to Ms., then I think
Mister and Master should be changed to Muster ... abbreviated to Mu. On
second thought, maybe both sexes should be called Mx. That would
solve the gender problem entirely.”
Methinks calling everyone, or 'both' sexes Mx would not solve any
problem at all. And
I don’t know if Pat Kite thought so, either. This is, after all, spoken
by a fictitious character.
The next appearance of Mx may have been in twentieth century Usenet
conversations. In my searches of online records I found only a handful
of mentions, among a small number of very brief and superficial
discussions of gender titles.
Because of privacy concerns I’m leaving out identifying info. The
originals are available at Google Groups.
I begin with Bruce, on July 9, 1982:
Discussions of how language ought to be
are interesting, but standard usage is
the real authority.
I second that, Bruce!
On the same date Alice wrote:
How did we get into the mode that there
is some implicit agreement that we all want to
"eliminate the gender
Not sure if I would second all of that, maybe it
needed a bit of
I have some pretty strongly held gender preferences
- mebbe I should
enjoy the company ov men as much and in the same way as women, but I
don't - vive la difference.
Now we come to something of note, what is possibly the first
documentary evidence of a person using Mx as a title for themself,
though they may have only done it just this once and not at all in the
real world outside of the internet. July 11, 1982:
while we're at it, let's get rid of all
this Miss/Mrs/Mr/Ms crap. It wasn't much of a
step to go from Miss/Mrs to Ms;
after all, the issue should be that gender is
unimportant. How about one generic title
for everyone? For instance, M.
Smith, M. Jones. But that's flawed, it might be
Monsieur, a blatantly sexist word. From now
on, we should all go by
Mx, pronounced "mix" or "mux." This will
make the world safe
for democracy by concealing our genders from the
Mx. John E…….
Oh dear. Gender is unimportant, and we’re all going to be called Mix.
Mucks. At least John has managed to hide his gender from us. Not.
This reminds me of toddlers who hide their face, exclaiming “You can’t
see me.” I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that.
Is this single Usenet post from more than thirty years ago the
inspiration for agender advocates suggesting in 2015 that Mx is for
everyone? It could not be any sort of justification.
On January 30, 1985, referencing the nuclear MX intercontinental
ballistic missile then in development, Mrs G wrote:
I got one netter's intesting suggestin
that the all purpose honorific
should be Mx. (I think it's nice to use the algebraic "x" for
unknown. Very elegant.)
Then my husband ... suggested it would be more in
keeping with the
spirit of UNIX to write it as M*.
(And besides that way there's less chance of
fallout from missile
I briefly wondered if M* might satisfy those who want a non-title
title. A word that isn’t a word should be unpronounceable, just like
M*, yes? But no, there are problems using ‘reserved characters’ like '
in the modern world of computers. And, in any case, a pronunciation for
M* would soon develop (as the next Usenet post, below, suggests).
If Mrs G had wanted to hide her gender, far more than merely using a
non-title she would also have to double-check everything she wrote to
make sure there were no gender clues. Her husband would have to go, for
a start. (At least in the 1980s).
A week after that, on February 8, 1985, Ken said:
I'm afraid, neither one of these would
really be non-sexist. "Mx"
would invariably evolve to the point where it would be pronounced
"missile", and would thereby sound too much like the feminine "miss".
Similarly, M* would be pronounced "masterisk", with obviously
Mx, of course, will not become ‘missile,’ but I can already hear M* as
‘masterisk’ in my inner ear.
Scott piped in another week later on February 16,
No,no,no - the proper UNIX form would be
"M?". Has a nice, ambiguous
look to it, doesn't it?
But ‘?’ is also a reserved character in computer land.
The next mention of Mx came in 1998, on October 19, when Gnome 11 had a
slightly better idea:
Occasionally I have used the title ‘Mx’
before my name, with the idea that it leaves in
question whether I’m a woman or a
man or somethinng in between and gives no idea of
my maritial status.
At least they acknowledge there could be a gender (and/or anatomical
sex, meaning intersex) which is ‘in between.’ Note that I’ve called
Gnome 11 ‘they.’ It’s better than he or she because they might not be a
he or a she.
Two months later, on December 9, 1998, Ravan wrote:
I, for one, would like to see something
like Mx. Mister, Missus,
Miss, and Mizz all rolled into one M(i)x. Mx. Asteris, Mx. S.
Robinson, Mx. J. Marshall, etc. You get the idea.
That’s an interesting take on the spelling of Mix, where the middle
letter is inherited from Mister, Missus, Mizz. It’s almost genetic, or
Ravan’s post was in response to one by Jacque:
And while we're on the subject of female
honorifics, I have to say that
it annoys me no end to be required to declare my gender. Even in
totally irrelevant contexts, like magazine subscriptions. At LEAST now
they have Ms, so you don't have to declare your marital status, too.
(And there's no good smart-ass response, like there
is for race or
sex.) I mean, for heaven's sake, why does National Geographic care… ?
Hmph, I say.
Well, exactly. I don’t know what their website had in 1998, but,
strictly speaking, the current National
Geographic subscription page
doesn’t always require your gender, because who knows what gender may
hide behind ‘Dr’ or ‘Rt. Hon?’
Seriously though, the only other choices in their pull-down menu are
still just Mr, Mrs, Ms, and Miss (November 2015). Nothing else, no
‘Other,’ no ‘No
title.’ They need some advice.
But note that you are then encouraged to provide your first name, which
for most people is gendered, so even if they had ‘Other’ and ‘No title’
most people’s gender would still be obvious. National Geographic need
to add these
two, plus Mx, not for concealing gender, but for the
purpose of allowing transgender and agender people, and people of a
non-English speaking background, to subscribe honestly.
On to Paul in 2001, who suggested on February 8 that Mx
could be the
title for, I think, a Star Trek character who in his opinion is a
Snarky's an androgyne, remember? And
"Mr." is only for males. S/he should be "Mx.
"Snarky is too much of a Ferengi in a wheelbarrow…
I’m not sure if I like the association of androgyne with
but then you don’t get to choose your neighbours, either.
Mx Snarky would be Mr Bloggsnovich’s distant (very distant)
cousin—because they’re both fictitious. Or perhaps there really is a
person with the name or nickname of Snarky.
The following year, 2002, I heard about a real person in Australia,
someone who was both transgender and intersex, who was using Mx, and so
I began using it.
Until I began preparing this article I’d never heard of these Usenet
posts, nor the magazine article, but that was no great impediment as
these are hardly in-depth or meaningful discussions.
Could the misguided advice that Mx is for everyone have stemmed from a
few of these Usenet posts? They can’t seriously be taken to have any
prescriptive value for how Mx should or could be used. Apart from the
single example of Gnome 11, they do not show Mx being used effectively,
or even ineffectively, for any purpose at all, at any time. Their value
is purely academic.
There may have been other appearances of Mx in the early internet but
they were probably similar to these, and thus of very limited interest.
So move along folks, there’s nothing much to see here.
Appendix Four: Issues for form makers
If you are designing an online or hardcopy form please carefully
consider how to make it easier for your customers to avoid making
offer these possibilities for your consideration.
I suggest that these three: Mx, No title, and Other,
appear together along with the usual titles.
Mx: people may wonder about this,
but if they don't know it they're
unlikely to use it as long as they can choose one of the other two
No title: for cisgender people, and indeed
anyone, who doesn't want to
reveal their gender for whatever reason; and
Other: because many transgender people will
not want to use the two
above, and individuals from non English-speaking backgrounds may not
want to use the traditional English titles.
There may be some point in being able to decline providing gender
markers, to minimise gender-based discrimination. Many individuals want
to do this even though this method may not be effective in concealing
Including Mx and Other but omitting No title,
could mean that
transgender people feel they're unable to avoid stating their gender,
because while Mx means transgender, Other is often
taken to mean
something broadly similar, or agender. Or, at least, these sorts of
people have been using Other for a long time.
Including Mx and No title but omitting Other,
may present problems to
some agender people, and cisgender people from non English-speaking
backgrounds. The latter may also find it confusing and choose Mx,
thinking of the ‘x’ as a wildcard.
Perhaps Mx could be used in pull-down menus and radio
button lists as Mx
(Mix), Mix (Mx) or Mx/Mix. Or simply as Mix.
In short, please don't use Mx without BOTH of the other two
otherwise some of your customers are likely to make mistakes or feel
pressured into making an inappropriate choice.
It may be advisable to
add brief instructions or descriptions for users to avoid confusion.
A pop-up menu could have something like one of these:
Mx or Mix is a non-binary transgender
Mx is for non-binary
Mx indicates non-binary transgender
A non-binary transgender
Avoid using the term 'gender-neutral' as this is easily misunderstood
as meaning unspecified or indeterminate, which is not what Mx means.
Avoid 'agender' for the same reason.
Perhaps also a link or reciprocal link to a heading in the main
document or an appendix?
As one of the most important reasons for recording a
person’s common title
is to determine which pronouns to use, perhaps forms could have a new
section giving a choice of pronouns. So, in addition to a choice of
titles, we also get a choice like this:
Tick one [i.e. one line]:
This could be accompanied by this anchor link to
"Personal pronouns: the singular they:" http://www.mixmargaret.com/about-mx-with-miss-mrs-mr-ms-and-the-singular-they.html#Personal_pronouns
he, his, him
she, her, her
they, their, them
Other: (type in the boxes, three of them)
The ability to specify pronouns would prevent a lot of the misgendering
which currently happens, especially in regard to non English-speaking
As time goes by it is likely this section on form design will be
updated several times. It will be fine-tuned after more feedback and
may include examples of old and improved forms, so come back often or
keep in touch. See my blog for ongoing
developments (opens in a new window): http://mixmargaret.com/blog/category/trans-androgyne
Appendix Five: Resources for allies
Our many allies, whether cisgender or otherwise, can help promote the
appropriate use of Mx in many ways, especially by sharing and writing
about this article and the previous one (see the share buttons at the
end or use anchor links, described below).
Share with these people, especially if you know them personally:
- Opinion makers, article writers, article
- Politicians, prominent people
- Legislation and regulation drafters in the
- CEOs of companies big and small (ask them to
pass it on to their
- Web page designers
- Systems designers
- Organisations which have forms for people to
use when joining
- Behind-the-scenes office staff involved in
- Official change implementers
- Local government community development
- Social workers
- Community organisations
- Dictionaries, database writers
- Cisgender friends
- Transgender friends
- Your best friend, and just about anyone you
know at all, really
But please avoid spamming or sending junk mail. Stick to people you
already have correspondence with, or who know you well. Don’t do mass
Tell your friends or acquaintances a couple of things you particularly
liked about this information, what really struck you, what seemed new
or especially important. See if you can relate it to what is happening
in your friend’s organisation or their field of endeavour.
Suggest this article to reviewers at magazines, newspapers and online
sites (especially in the mainstream media, because it’s as much about
cisgender organisations as it is about transgender people). Write about
it on your blog, with short quotes and links to the article. If you’re
going to discuss it please make sure you know the subject well
reading and absorbing the whole article first. You don’t want to get
egg on your face.
Tell your friends to “Put the kettle on,” or say “Long, but it’s a
great read, I couldn’t put it down,” or “So full of interesting info,
different things and angles I’d never thought of before.”
Find many other ways of using this document as a resource (see the
Creative Commons licence).
Send or use the URL (link) of this article along with your own comments
in email, Facebook, Twitter etc. (or use the Share buttons).
Or, instead of just the main link, you can combine it with one or more
‘anchor links’ (also known as ‘jump to links’), if you know how to make
these. When your friends click
on one of these they are shown the page at the position of a heading. For
example, this anchor link (in one long line)
brings them to the section headed “1977,
to see here, move along folks”
It’s like getting a book delivered to your friend’s door already open
at the chapter you really want them to read first.
To find these anchor links do a right click on your chosen heading
where you see it in the NAVIGATION SECTION. Select ‘Copy
this link,’ and then paste the link in your email or Facebook message
etc. using another right click.
Don’t forget to test your links before you send them to your friends.
Share this information in any English-speaking country, and places
(such as India) where English may only be a government language or only
one of several official languages.
I plan to make a PDF version. This will have the whole document in one
computer file, with all the graphics and links. Also, a hardcopy
booklet will be published through Hovea Music Press, which will be
available at this page where I sell my music: mixmargaret.com/shopify-links-for-mdj.html
More ideas for sharing:
And keep in touch with myself
There is no point engaging in heated debates with those who are not
willing to at least listen. Stick to people with open minds because you
don’t need the aggravation.
Mx Margaret, as supermarket staffer in 2006
Mx, with Miss, Mrs, Mr, Ms, and the singular they
by Mx Margaret
is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://mixmargaret.com/about-mx-with-miss-mrs-mr-ms-and-the-singular-they.html.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.mixmargaret.com.
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