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Mx Mukherjee: Nalsar drops Mr & Ms to issue first ever gender-neutral graduation certificate in recognition of gender fluidity

Mx: No heartburn
Mx: No heartburn

Nalsar Hyderabad has possibly granted India’s first ever graduation certificate with the gender-neutral honourific “Mx”, instead of “Mr”, “Ms”, “Miss” or “Mrs”.

Nalsar convenor of the academics and examinations committee Prof Amita Dhanda commented: “We as a university of law, under a progressive vice chancellor, interpret rules in harmony with social and scientific understanding.

“It is due to this perspective that the request of the student was accepted by the exam department as a matter of fact everyday decision.

“Our progressive approach has helped us take this small step to recognise gender fluidity and self identification.”

Legally India reached out to Nalsar 2015 graduate Anindita Mukherjee to ask about the process involved in getting the Mx honourific official on the graduation transcript.

Mukherjee explained:

'Mx.' is an honorific that does not disclose the gender of the person it is used for. Those who do not gender identify, or those who do not wish their gender to be discernible from the way in which they are addressed prefer to use it.

I asked the NALSAR administration to use Mx. because I did not see any reason why my transcripts or academic records needed to carry markers of my gender identity, especially given that I am still uncertain as to how I wish to identify.

Answering about the process of convincing the administration to use the Mx honourific, Mukherjee said:

It is almost anti-climatic, given one would think there'd be strenuous struggle involved in getting an administration to make such a decision, but the way in which it all happened was very matter-of-fact.

The university sent out emails with our provisional transcripts and asked us to mail back with any corrections we might desire; I replied asking for the honorific before my name to be changed from 'Ms.' to 'Mx.' and it was done.

The department even called me up to check if I would like the change to be reflected in other certificates, and what pronouns they should use instead of 'she' (most commonly, 'ze' or 'they', in case you're wondering)!

I'm glad the university took this decision, and did it without any heartburn.

“While this is all, at one level, rather superficial,” noted Mukherjee, “absent any concrete efforts to increase access for trans* students, it is nonetheless a recognition of gender fluidity, and that's a good place to begin.

“I am hoping more students who feel uncomfortable with the gender binary will start to make similar demands upon the systems within which they function. Moving forward, it would be great if NALSAR (and all other organisations, actually) would ask students what pronouns and honorifics they prefer, without leaving it to individual students to make specific requests.”

The honorific Mx has seen widespread use in the UK in recent years, according to Wikipedia, and Oxford University in the UK, for instance, has a formal procedure to request a gender title, stating on its website:

The titles Mr, Miss, Ms, Mrs are social titles and have no legal status. If you do not wish to use the title assigned to your record, please contact your College Office to have your title amended from this list. You may also choose NULL (no title) or Mx (a gender-neutral title). You do not need to provide any documentary evidence to support your request. You may choose any of these options, regardless of your legal sex or preferred gender.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) this year reportedly considered adding Mx to its pages.

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