One of the UK’s biggest banks is to offer its transgender customers a choice of 10 new gender-neutral titles.
HSBC will now give customers the option of a range of titles, including “Ind”, which stands for individual, meaning free of gender, and “Mre”, an abbreviation for “mystery”.
Announcing the move on Friday, marking Transgender Day of Visibility, the bank published a video of its project manager Stuart Barette, who is trans himself, explaining the importance of offering the opportunity for customers to choose from a range of titles.
Mr Barette, who is also lead for HSBC’s Pride network, tells of his own experience, saying: “On the day that I went into the branch to change my name and my gender, I was terrified to be honest, because when you go in to change your gender in a bank you have to come out to the branch.
“And coming out to anyone is a difficult situation. It’s very nerve-wracking; you don’t know how people are going to react."
Mr Barette goes on to explain that HSBC had arranged training for all branch staff and contact centre staff for how best to deal with these changes and have a good understanding of the experiences of those in the trans community.
“For transgender people we had 'Mx' but we didn’t have a whole range of other ones. And actually, especially for people who identity as non-binary, they don’t necessarily always want to use the 'Mx' titles,” he said.
“Previously, I think that not everybody was as aware of their parts to play on people’s journeys, and understanding that helps to make that journey a little bit easier.”
The bank now informs customers on its website that the can update their gender at their local branch. “We can also update your information to represent a gender neutral title (i.e. Mx) if you do not wish to have a gender specific title on your account,” it states.
It proceeds to explain that within the title section, "Mx" is listed as an option, but that the bank will also allow title changes to one of nine titles listed, which include “M”, “Misc”, “Msr”, “Myr” and “Sai”.
Other banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, also allow customers to have gender neutral titles.
Responding to the move by HSBC, a spokesperson from UK LGBT charity Stonewall said: “It’s great to see an increasing number of organisations prioritise issues affecting trans people.
“The banking sector has taken huge strides towards making lesbian, gay, bi and trans employees and customers feel valued. This was demonstrated earlier this year by Lloyds Banking Group, who came number one in our top 100 LGBT inclusive employers in Britain.”