Finally, a gender-cultural linguistic addition that Miss Manners can use

Finally, a gender-cultural linguistic addition that Miss Manners can use

Liberty Unyielding has been tracking developments in the gender-cultural linguistic shakeout for a while now, carefully documenting for you which one-syllable combinations of consonants and vowels are considered hip and forward-leaning, and which are totally lame (and might get you expelled from the University of New Mexico, if you uttered them in front of the wrong person).

But most of the percolating and sausage-making to date has been about the crude basics; i.e., how to refer, using pronouns, to another human being, who for all you know may identify as all of LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM, and then some.  Or not.  Who knows?  And if you think it even matters, let me just say you’re a cisbrained speciesist and you need help.

But just as these endlessly chopped refinements start to wear on a person, there’s finally word on a welcome expansion of the gender-cultural horizon.  We’ve had a regrettable dearth of honorifics by which to enhance in English the name of a person of uncertain or undeclared gender.  Titles you have to earn, like “Colonel” or “Doctor” or “Senator,” adapt to anyone — or indeed to anything; you can call a cat Doctor Peepers, or your car Colonel Shrimpkin, if you like.  But Mr. and Ms. don’t do the whole trick anymore, for humans with conventional names but no earned honorifics.

Now Merriam-Webster has officially added the honorific “Mx.” to its latest dictionary, providing at last for the contingency that too often arises with those who have trouble choosing among LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM, or who prefer to probe the unquantifiable territory beyond them.

Granted, the two-letter abbreviation MX already refers to Mexico, for a number of purposes such as top-level domain assignment and various brevity codes.  We’ve also used “MX” for some years now to refer to a U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile system.  There will be opportunities for minor confusion.

And it will take Miss Manners herself to issue the ukase on occasions and forms for proper usage.  We daren’t attempt this one on our own.  There will be some kinks to work out.

But the bones are there now.  The small steps for man continue.

N.B. The first person to make a Mr. Mxyzptlk joke will be barred from competing in our valuable, prestigious LU Points system for at least a month.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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