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SA university drops titles to be more transgender friendly

PICTUREDL Wits University

A PRESTIGIOUS university in South Africa has dropped gender prefixes from all university communication in a bid to create a more inclusive environment for students who are transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming.

The University of the Witwatersrand, also know as Wits University, dropped gender prefixes - Mr, Ms and Mrs - to allow students the freedom to identify as how they would like.

A spokesperson for the university's Transformation and Employment Equity Office said: "Addressing somebody by a particular name or title are intrinsically affirming for people who are transgender or gender non-conforming or gender queer. It makes you part of the university culture if you feel you are visibly appreciated and respected."

The gender-neutral title "Mx", which is widely recognised in many countries across the world, is increasingly popular, the university said in a statement.

South Africa's Gender and Quality Commission has called the change at Wits University "very progressive", according to news site Eyewitness News, adding they "hope this can be taken forward" nationwide.

The Gender and Equality Commission's Javu Baloyi has welcomed the move and says the Home Affairs Department should follow this example.

“When people want to be identified without a prefix before their name, let Home Affairs allow them to do so... this is very progressive for the country. We’ve got countries like Australia who have done so before us and we hope this can be taken forward.”

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