(Blogmensgo, gay blog of April 11, 2017) On March 31st, 2017, British bank HSBC started offering 10 new titles as forms of addressing its transgender and intersexual customers in order to better serve them and allow more gender-neutral (or more specific) ways in dealing with them.
Traditionally, HSBC had been using one of the following four titles in addressing its customers:
- Mr: Mister
- Mrs: Mistress, pronounced like: /ˈmɪsɪz/ or /ˈmɪsəz/
- Miss: Miss
- Ms: pronounced like: /ˈmɪz/ or /məs/
Below are some of the 10 new designation that HSBC customers may now choose, of which some are not normally in use in the UK but may be used by foreign customers.
- Mx, pronounced like: mix or mux
- Ind, abbreviation of Individual
- Misc, abbreviation of miscellaneaous
- Mre, abbreviation of mystery
- Msr, abbreviation/combination of Miss and Sir
- Pr, pronounced like: per, abbreviation of person
- Sai, pronounced like: sigh, Asian abbreviation
- Ser, pronounced like: sair, Latinamerican abbreviation
- M, abbreviation of the French word Monsieur
- Myr, abbreviation used in other parts of the world
These new titles are to be used in all the customer communication of HSBC, i.e. account statements and bank cards, on letters and in personal dealings of bank employees with the customers. HSBC now also offers training classes about how to deal with LGBT persons, particularly transgender and intersexual people.
People who are going or have gone through a gender transition may choose their title in their bank branch and just need to show a simple document about their case.
HSBC sums up its new approach on this page:
In addition, HSBC UK produced a video clip with Stuart Barrette, head of trans section of the group HSBC UK Pride.
Here is another video of Stuart Barrette showing him with his beloved horses and talking about his life as a trans-man.
This initiative of HSBC is not the first one of its kind in the UK, and others are sure to follow. Royal Bank of Scotland introduced the title Mx in 2014 and Metro Bank in November 2016.
Lloyds Banking Group is said to be thinking about a similar initiative. On the list of the Top 100 of LGBT-inclusive employers in the UK, published by LGBT activist group Stonewall, the banking group ranks in the very top range.
On a side note, Stonewall asked the British government to allow the designation X for neutral on passports, aside from the traditional titles. This could be used by intersexual people and people who do not feel part of one of the classic sexes.
In addition, Stonewall has made good suggestions in linguistic questions. For example, the expressions transsexual or sex change should be deleted in a whole number of legal and administrative texts.