Question: Gender neutral titles

Tea asks…

If I’m identified as male, I’m “Mr. so-and-so.” If female, “Ms. so-and-so.” But I haven’t found anything that works well for people identified as neither. Any recommendations?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on February 18th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 59 comments »

59 Responses to “Question: Gender neutral titles”

  1. Anonymous

    I’m a big fan of mx., as in mx. justin bond. I’ve never heard it pronounced, but I suppose it could be “mix” or “mixter”


  2. Rhube

    Oooh, I like that too.
    I’ve been trying to find a proper one for me, and mx. is cool!


  3. Mym

    I’m looking forward to ‘Dr’. Nearly there!


  4. CXW

    Am fortunate enough to be Dr. Added greatly to the satisfaction of completing the thesis after 5 years!


  5. Mapie

    My personal favorite is “Beau” as in “Beau Ehmann” ^_^


  6. William

    “Mx” is indeed pronounced “mix”. A certain friend of mine is in my phone as Mx Surname because zir name keeps changing and even zie isn’t sure what gender zie is.

    I believe Mstr or something like it also exists but I’m quite fond of Mx


  7. Anonymous

    Everyone is really different from anyone else. Why should any of us get over that? It is an amazing and precious thing how different we all are.


    Lenoxus replied:

    I know this is old, but every time I see this argument I feel compelled to respond.

    First of all, the main point of finding a gender-neutral honorific is BECAUSE of our diversity! Some people identify as neither female nor male, and those people are amazing and precious like you or me, so we need a word there. More diverse, see?

    Secondly, just because humans come in the diverse forms of sexes doesn’t mean that our honorifics have to acknowledge this! What about religion? Age? Political ideology? Hair color? Race? (For that last one, I highly reccomend Douglas Hofstader’s Person Paper.)

    Heck, even non-humans get the same gendered honorifics (eg, a cat named Mr. Mittens) and there’s obviously much more diversity in the animal kingdom than in the human species. Kind of tricky if you want to make a cartoon about hermaphrodite organism lika an earthworm…


    Lenoxus replied:

    oops, that should be “Douglas Hofstadter’s Person Paper.”


  8. Elias

    i love Mx! it doesn’t hurt that i’ve always wanted to be a DJ :)


  9. genderkid

    Whenever someone doesn’t know what to call me, they say “joven” (young [one]). I wouldn’t mind being called Young+Surname.


    M Thompson replied:

    I like that! To some degree, there are cultures using age to determine honorific, i.e., in Nippon. I dunno if it’d ever fly in a “western” country, but I could dig it.

    What language is “joven” is sounds like it’s either Slavic or Scandinavian. Or Dutch?


    HAL replied:

    I believe it’s Spanish.


    Anonymous replied:

    It’s spanish. It means young, but when using it refering to someone it means “young man”. It is excusively male when it is used in the second way. It is the male for “miss”, or “señorita”, in spanish.


    Elle replied:

    What’s with all the “Anonymous” people who post here on Genderfork? Make up a name or something. It’s kind of hard to tell who’s saying what when everyone is the same “Anonymous”. Feel free to identify with whatever it is you have to say.

    Maria replied:

    it doesn’t just mean “young man;” when used as a pronoun, it means “young one” or “young person,” like “the youth”; gender neutral

    Anonymous replied:

    wrong. it’s not at all exclusively male. people use it here with females ALL the time. it’s used as a respectful term when referring to someone younger than oneself, for both male AND female.
    and i tell you this because i’ve lived in latin america for 30 years.

  10. Avery

    I’m looking forward to becoming Rev. (Reverend) sometime in the next few years.

    @generkid: I love it!


  11. ElegantAndrogyne

    Le Mademoiselle :)


  12. gunk

    I’ve recently changed my name and have been enjoying changing my honorific as well, to Mx. I get kinda annoyed when there’s no “other” option for honorifics, though, and had an argument with someone at the bank about it.
    It’ll be nice when I can one day use Dr, but for now I reckon Mx is a pretty good option!


  13. Able Jennder

    Ooooh. I’d quite prefer Mx. I was touring a trade school last week and they kept going, “so, Ms. Able” and “Well, Ms. Able” And it made me cringe. I think first I’ll just work on getting called Able before I add more things. :oP


  14. Tea

    I like Mx. That’s yoinked for future. Thanks!


  15. Dimmie

    My friends normally just call me by one of my Internet handles, usually “Dimmie.” Other people can just call me by my surname, no suffix needed (though I do kinda like Mx.).


  16. Keanan

    I can’t wait to be Dr. I think Captain would be cool too. Or Master (but that is more generally male and sometimes means other things…). Or Major, Admiral, or some other military prefix.


  17. Erica (the photo curator)

    I got very excited when I read this, because more than once I’ve been stuck writing an email to someone with an androgynous name and not been able to ask what pronoun they preferred. Problem is, until “Mx.” has a wider usage it will probably be mistaken for a typo.


  18. nick

    I’m not looking for a genderneutral title to describe myself, but I do wish I knew a polite title like mister or miss for people whose gender isn’t obvious. I want to be polite without being forced to label androgynous people. Any ideas?


  19. Mercury Mars

    any gender-neutrals for “miss/sir/ma’am”? as a cashier, i’d like an “excuse me, [blank]” that I wouldn’t mind hearing used on myself.


  20. Nathan

    My personal preference is just “excuse me” by itself: It’s what I use when I need to get the attention of someone whose name I don’t know, and I’m always happiest when people do the same for me. However, I wasn’t brought up to use sir and ma’am, so it’s possible that people who were would feel rude not having a replacement.

    But I strongly agree that this sort of “polite” use of gendered language is in desperate need of change: I get both sir and ma’am, and am not particularly fond of either one (though at least the one opposite my birth-assigned gender is a pleasant change of pace).


  21. Andi

    You could go the puritan way, and address everyone as “Goody”. XD


    Dylan replied:

    “Excuse me, good person!”

    The difficult thing about just saying “excuse me,” is that people rarely respond to it unless its quiet and they’re the only person around. I have chased down a customer (who had forgotten bags) says Excuse me! Excuse me! for a while until I gave in & said Excuse me Ma’am! She turned right around, having been identified as a woman she felt the “excuse me” was for her.

    “Excuse me, in the purple shirt!” might serve.


  22. Ze Fleet

    I personally like the ring of “The”; the problem is, it leaves me envious of “Mr”‘s two syllables and it would make me The Anderson, which sounds pretty weird to me.
    Someone else said Captain. Maybe I read too many British sea novels, or maybe it really is generally awesome.

    I personally get a little irritated with all the x’s in the community (xyr seems to be trying too hard) but I think I’ll be keeping “Mixter” in mind for the future, if I can’t get more imaginitive than that.

    Do you think that abbreviating it as “Mxr” instead of just “Mx” would make it seem less like a typo? Or would that make it too close to “Mister”?


  23. Anonymous

    Just for the record, I just made a list of all these possibilities in my journal. I plan to be a teacher, and I’ve been looking to the longest time for a semi-acceptable, genderless honorific for myself. Perhaps I can get my education professors to okay one of these options for me?

    (I had a professor last semester who used “The” as his honorific. Not for gender reasons, but because he didn’t like the formality of “Dr.” or “Professor” or “Mr.”)


  24. Alfie

    I’d use Captain.


  25. Lilybean

    Once I’m on the safe side of transitioning to a comfortable body, I’d probably go with Mur. But I’m not sure.

    Maybe we need to be radical and fun. I don’t think you can call yourself ‘Captain’ etc. unless you are one, but I’m sure there are other alternatives. I’m tempted to look at older, more interesting cultures.


  26. Angel

    I think that deciding you have to be a ‘Doctor’ or a ‘Captain’ in order to use those honorifics is untrue. As long as you aren’t practicing medicine (or in some other way passing your ‘doctor-ness’ off as real) or trying to command a ship, it shouldn’t matter. I’ve used Dr., Rev. and other options to have a less gendered honorific.

    Also, I’d be more likely to think it’s ok to use an honorific I haven’t ‘earned’ than to appropriate an honorific from a culture other than my own.

    – Angel


  27. Cat

    How about “Comrade?” Surely we’re far enough past the Red Scare to not be afraid of this one! It’s got a cool ring to it, too.


  28. TS Lee

    oops necro but there aren’t many results on google for this.
    Is there an abbrev for Comrade? I’d prefer that over military or religious titles.

    Why do we feel the need to derive something from Mr/Ms rather than coming up with something better suited like Nt. (Neutrois) or Hm (Human)


  29. TS Lee

    Cde denotes a Zanu PF member unfortunately. There is also the japanese ‘-san’ title and I just come across d?shi which means comrade in jp and has a homonym, a suffix to denote people sharing a common property. I wonder if that could apply to all of us for sharing the planet?


  30. Lou

    As both captain of a sporting team and president of a league I am referred to by some as Capitán or Presidente, of which I am fond of both. I am partial to Capitán as I relate it to the idea of us all being Captains of our our vessels on this journey we call life.


  31. Anonymous

    how about friend?


  32. Anonymous

    I kind of like “mir.” Prounounced like meerkat? It rolls of the tounge and sounds like it would fit in the english language, but also doesn’t sound like you’re just saying someone’s first name.


  33. Peter Thompson

    I came to this post after stumbling across a question on while researching something else. I posted a (likely verbose) reply to “Is m an honorific?” @

    I don’t even have a guess how many people are Asimov fans or Dan Simmons fans, but a short exchange took a turn for the Sci-Fi in my Facebook post linking to the question:

    I’m digging the dialog :-)


    tigr replied:

    Unfortunately I can’t read whatever you linked to on facebook (it asks me to log in; I’m not on facebook and that won’t change). Would you want to re-post that thing here?


    Peter Thompson replied:

    Oy, I’m pretty ashamed I acted in a Facebook-centric fashion. No joke. I’ll try to reproduce the exchange:

    I linked to the post here at genderfork and a ‘book friend of mine replied, ‘I’d rather have an “R”, as in “R. Daneel Olivaw” …’ and he included a link to the Wikipedia entry for R. Olivaw ( For folks unfamiliar with Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books/universe (, R. Daneel Olivaw is a Robot. I capitalize the word as it’s an honorific reserved for sentient robots. It’s a true nugget of geekdom and it made me pretty happy.

    I responded with the following:
    ‘Okay, you just made me so ridiculously happy. Not only did I not recall “R” was an honorific for sentient robots (so I was insanely overjoyed to be reminded), but I was also unaware of the existence (after doing *no* research, natch) of two books by Asimov with R Olivaw: -The Naked Sun- & -The Robots of Dawn-!

    ‘THEN I was immediately reminded of the honorific used in the Hyperion Cantos ( for Androids (you capitalize that, dammit!): “A”, as in A. Bettik (’

    Now, I am quite afraid I have exposed far too much of my self on the internet.



    tigr replied:


    The problem with “M” is that in French it stands – very unambigously – for “Monsieur”, i.e., masculine title. And I’d rather have a title (if I have to have one at all) which is clearly ambiguous.

    Anyway, I think “Mx” has won regardless. For example, when I asked my university to remove my previously assigned title, they replied their computer system requires them to enter some title, but then they suggested adding “Mx” to the list of titles one can choose from. :> And after a (slightly angry) letter, even my bank changed over my title to Mx. (Wheee!!)

  34. Mx. Nathan Tamar

    Can “Mx.” be used in place of “Ma’am,” or “Sir?” I hear both and don’t like either and would like to be able to offer an alternative.


  35. Mart

    I have no good suggestions for a Mr/Ms alternative, but when regarding sir/ma’am alternatives, how about tiz? Or maybe tize (rhymes with rice). Ripped from citizen.
    Considering the etymologies of sir (from sire, from senior) and ma’am (madam, from ma dame (my lady)) (according to and their current usages, it wouldn’t be inappropriate, right?


  36. Mart

    I we use Mx. and tiz, it could look something like this:

    Mar walked briskly over to the big official-looking building. When sie was just about to enter through the sliding doors, a voice called out behind hir.

    “Tiz! Excuse me, tiz, are you Mx. Mar Smith?”

    “Indeed I am, can I help you with anything?”

    “How fortunate I got to see you before the meeting. I’m Bren Rosebud, I’m with Olive Tree Publishing. Can I ask you to take a look at the content of this folder and possibly find usage for the concepts therein? For your company, I mean.”

    “These are all pictures of kittens.”

    “Yes, mix.”

    “They’re all quite adorable. I’ll see what I can do.”

    “Oh, thank you mix! I guarantee you won’t regret it!”

    “You’ll hear from me again. Now, tiz, I wish you a good day.”

    “A good day to you as well!”



  37. Mart

    Though I guess that should be “Yes, tiz.” I suddenly confused “Yes, sir/ma’am” with “Yes, mister”, like some kind of oldfashioned english paper boy. You know, like in the movies. Or do they even say that? I don’t know anything!


  38. Myoo

    Mix Mix-A-Lot. That is all.

    (Sorry, I just had to say it)


  39. Kett

    My only problem with Mx is that it sounds like one is saying that they or the person they are addressing/referring to is a mix of Mr and Ms, both male and female. Which I think could be problematic for people who are neither male nor female or who want an honorific that has nothing to do with gender, or when you’re addressing someone whose gender you just don’t know. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else voicing that concern, though. Am I just reading too much into it?


  40. MaskandMirror

    I don’t like Mixter, really. It makes everyone sound like a DJ. What about ‘misser’? Msr. That seems to fit both and neither equally well.


    Rinn replied:

    I like this one. It’s also a nice combination of “miss” and “sir,” which is pretty neatly ambiguous.


    Chris replied:

    I remember reading a sci-fi where they used “Mizzer”. I forget the abbreviation though… I think it was “Mz.”?

    Poo, now I’m not sure which I like better, Mx. or Msr…. I like the first because the x is so ambiguous. If you showed that option to someone without explaining, I feel they would instantly recognize it as an ambiguous, more anonymous answer. But I like saying “Misser” more than “Mix”, and I love how it’s a nice combination of what we already had. Sigh…

    I do love Comrade though as well. :D


  41. Shevvi

    Whilst I do like ‘Mx’ and even ‘The’ there’s really no reason to have a title. Dr or Professor (don’t know the short hand for that ) isn’t so great either because well my mother doesn’t get called Teacher Brown and my father doesn’t get called Social Worker Janes. I see no reason why a bachelor of medicine or higher education should give you a new title as opposed to any other career. If first names really can’t be used…which I don’t get because we’ve had them all our life (usually) and I don’t see why using our first names is rude in some situations…then just say the last name.


  42. Vince


    It stands for “Honored”. Plan & simple.


    Anonymous replied:

    I like it, but how would you pronounce it when addressing someone? (Hr. Smith)


  43. Jonnie Smith

    Hello All

    I go by Mx. Jonnie Smith and I was recently validated by the 311 service in Toronto, Canada when they responded to my enquiry as “Mx. Smith” and that was really nice!

    I like the dot after Mx. It is similar to other honorifics like Dr. or even the gender-biased ones. Others drop the dot but is seems too much like the gender-biased feminist “Ms” from the 1970’s, event that is usually referred to as “Ms.” with a dot these days. The dot also separates the honorific from my name – I use “Mixter” if I want to use the full form – “Mix” didn’t seem to cause a reaction – only confusion.

    Beauty in Ambiguity – luv it – that is what it is about!


  44. Dave

    Glad you’re all as mixed up as I am…

    Trying to write a government form on a system that won’t allow a freetext “Other” option.

    I think my list of titles is going to get rather long.

    Would “Other” seem demeaning as a title? (My assumption is yes, but this could be understandable by us muggles and therefore would easily spread…)

    (P.S I’m not considering “Other” just wondering about your opinions)


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