HSBC introduces choice of titles for transgender customers

HSBC releases ten gender-neutral titles to customers, coinciding with International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Contestant Nathalie De Oliveira of Brazil prepares backstage before the final show of the Miss International Queen 2016 transgender/transsexual beauty pageant in Pattaya, Thailand, March 10, 2017.
Contestant Nathalie De Oliveira of Brazil prepares backstage before the final show of the Miss International Queen 2016 transgender/transsexual beauty pageant in Pattaya, Thailand, March 10, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - HSBC has come up with a list of 10 new gender-neutral titles for customers to use if they do not feel comfortable using conventional titles like Mr, Mrs and Ms.

The bank's customers will be able to choose from a list that includes Mx, Ind, M, Mre, and Misc, according to reports.

HSBC said titles chosen would be applied across customers’ accounts, including on their bank cards and all correspondence.

The new service has been developed, it said, in tandem with HSBC Pride - the bank’s internal lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employee network. The group played an advisory role in ensuring the new services reflected the “financial needs of the trans community”, said a report in Britain's Guardian. 

The bank has invested in extra training for all branch and contact centre staff to ensure the improvements happen.

Stuart Barette, who worked on the project and is the trans lead of HSBC’s pride network, said: “On the day that I went into the branch to change my name and my gender, I was terrified, to be honest. Coming out to anyone is difficult as you don’t know (how) 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 announcement, which coincides with International Transgender Day of Visibility, on March 31, is the latest initiative aimed at a community that has struggled for recognition from a variety of organisations and corporations, said the Guardian.

Heather Williams, assistant director of insight at Manchester’s LGBT Foundation, said: “We welcome today’s announcement by one of high-street banking’s biggest players. All too often the trans community feel that their needs are overlooked when it comes to accessing even the most basic everyday services, including banking.

"It’s great to see HSBC take these important steps to being more trans inclusive and we would encourage more institutions to do likewise.”

HSBC’s new honorifics, according to the BBC, are:

Mx, which is pronounced "Mix" or "Mux"

Ind, an abbreviation of individual

M, an abbreviation used in France

Misc, an abbreviation of miscellaneous

Mre, for "mystery"

Msr, a combination of Miss and Sir

Myr, used in other parts of the world

Pr, an abbreviation of person, pronounced "per"

Sai, pronounced "sigh", used in Asia

Ser, pronounced "sair" used in Latin America