In the latest episode of corporations pandering to the LGBTI community, HSBC has added 10 gender-neutral titles for account holders. According to HSBC, account holders will now be able to choose from a list of titles, which will appear on customers’ bank statements, credit cards, and correspondence.
The list of new honorifics are:
Mx (pronounced "mix" or "mux")
Ind (an abbreviation of individual)
Misc (an abbreviation of miscellaneous)
Mre (an abbreviation for "mystery")
Msr (represents a combination of Miss/Sir)
Pr (prounced "per". An abbreviation of person)
Sai (pronounced "sigh")
Ser (pronounced "sair")
These labels were launched in line with Transgender Visibility Day (31 March, 2017) and with the assistance of “HSBC Pride.” Stuart Barette, who is transgender, worked on the project which reportedly aimed to make transgender people feel included.
“On the day that I went into the branch to change my name and my gender I was terrified, to be honest,” said Barette in a YouTube video.
“Coming out to anyone is difficult, as you don’t know people are going to react.
“That’s why the changes we’ve been making are so important, so that our trans customers can feel confident that they’re going to have a good experience and be speaking with someone who has been trained to better understand them.”
The Daily Mail also reports that the titles will be used when customers are phoned by staff.
While Barette’s intentions seem admirable, we are again left to question the effect on employees who do not agree with the new policy, but who will be “trained to better understand” the new gender ideology pervading their place of employment and be required to use the new pronouns when addressing customers.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell questioned the necessity of the confusing move, saying:
“They risk creating confusion, misunderstanding, ridicule and backlash. Mx is the emerging consensus as the preferred gender neutral title. It covers transgender and intersex people, and anyone who doesn’t identify as male or female. So I doubt whether the other nine titles are needed.”
It is another example of a corporation prioritising commercial concerns over employee freedoms; the bank wants to make sure it does not lose transgender customers.
“We are a commercial enterprise and we want to appeal to all our customers. If we don't improve then the transgender community won't bank with us and we don't want that.
Government agencies have also been getting on the honorific bandwagon. The Australian Bureau of Statistics added an “other” category for data collection last year, including in last year’s census. The Australian Electoral Commission recently began to allow the option of “Mx” as a title. As reported in The Australian:
Voters updating their personal electoral details before last year’s federal election were given an option to list their gender as unspecified. Government agencies are following the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, updated in November last year, and issued by the Attorney-General’s Department.
The guidelines, which introduce new gender identity categories alongside male and female on official governmental forms, also advise staff to refrain from assuming a person’s gender based on their name.
Social commentator Andrea Minichiello Williams told The London Telegraph that the new honorifics were a “denial of reality”.
‘This plays into the hands of a new political ideology. HSBC thinks this is progressive but it is actually regressive and absurd and will confuse people. I think it’s sad if people want 'mystery' as a title. It is a denial of reality.
“Major public institutions are beginning to pander to this latest fad of political orthodoxy for fear of being seen as illiberal.”
It will come as no surprise to the reader that HSBC are a “proud supporter of the marriage equality movement in Australia”. Such moves to include gender-neutral honorifics and pronouns are part of a broader campaign of social engineering – and in the case of Australia, attempts to further the cause of legalising same-sex marriage.
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