New Delhi: NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad, has granted India’s first gender-neutral graduation certificate to one of its students, issuing a certificate with the honorific Mx., instead of the commonly used Mr. and Ms.
The university took the decision after the Supreme Court last year passed a judgment recognising the rights of transgender people, granting them the status of a third gender, and a month after the Oxford English Dictionary announced that it would include the honorific Mx in its next edition.
Amita Dhanda, professor at the NALSAR said, “The University takes a progressive line on issues related to identity and gender. So far, the change has just been made in the student’s certificate but it might be used in the future as well,” and said that the university’s decision was based on a scientific and social understanding of gender.
Mx. Anindita Mukherjee, who received the provisional certificate with the gender neutral honorific told LegallyIndia, “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 myself.”
“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,” ze added.
Mukherjee said there was no trouble in convincing the university administration to make the required change. Ze said that while it was understood that this one instance is superficial and does not concretely deal with issues of access to trans students, the certificate is a recognition of gender-fluidity in Indian institutions, a good place to begin.
The use of the Mx. title has been growing in the UK, where a number of banks, educational institutions and government agencies accept and offer it as a title. ‘Mx’ can be pronounced ‘mex’, ‘mux’ or ‘mix’, and the pronouns ‘ze’ or ‘they’ can be used for people who do not identify with the gender binary and prefer gender-neutral titles and pronouns.