Trans* Jersey highlights the need to provide options for people of non-binary genders.
1-2% of the population experience some degree of gender dysphoria (a feeling that your gender identity does not match the gender role assigned to you by society). Not everyone who experiences this misalignment will take steps to do anything about it. However, some will, and when they do they may wish to adopt a new title, such as “Mx”, a gender-neutral alternative to “Mr” or “Ms”.
When Erin Bisson, a Jersey trans woman, went to change the title on her documents with various organisations, she found that her preferred title of Mx was not always an option open to her and some seemed baffled by her request. Mx Bisson says: “It should not be difficult and, quite frankly, it should be by choice. Personally, I am so happy and proud to be transgender, and I would like my title to reflect that.”
Trans* Jersey’s founder, Vic Tanner Davy, said: “I am not surprised by Erin’s experience. Unless you are trans* or know of someone who is, you may not realise that there are people who don’t identify as either a man or a woman. The Mx title allows those people whose gender is fluid to show ID documents that match their presentation, irrespective of whether their appearance is masculine or feminine on the day their ID has to be shown.”
Trans* Jersey is aware that the Social Security Department is currently looking into adding Mx as a gender-neutral option for customers. Vic Tanner Davy says: “It would be a very positive step towards equality for the trans* community if all the States departments could offer this option. If you are someone who has a title, like Senator, Advocate, Reverend or Doctor, and you have ever felt aggrieved when it is dropped or misused, you will understand how it feels to be called a title that does not correctly represent you. It is the same for trans* people.”
Whilst other organisations catch up, Mx Bisson has received her new debit card from NatWest and she is delighted. She said: “I was surprised. They handled it very quickly and, although there was a problem at first, they handled it very professionally, and I have a card with my preferred title on it.” NatWest are now training their employees on the use of Mx as an optional title.
Trans* Jersey is very happy to assist to any organisation who would like to offer gender-neutral options on forms and computer systems. They are also pleased to offer organisations training sessions on how to deal with trans* service users. They can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org