In a memo released on December 7, Human Resources and Equity at the University of Toronto announced the creation of a new gender identification option in its Human Resources information system for all staff, faculty, and librarians who do not identify as male or female.

The option allows all employees who do not identify as male or female to change their identification to ‘X.’ Employees will also be able to change their ‘display names,’ which are the names they choose to go by at work, and their form of address to ‘Mx,’ pronounced ‘mix.’

Documentation of a legal gender or name change will not be required for a gender or display name change in the university system. This change will also ensure that all employees have access to health services, both on campus and externally.

The addition of the ‘X’ gender identity is reflective of changes in provincial policy as of May 1, 2017. The new policy states that gender identity will be the default information collected for and displayed on government documents and identifications.

When displayed, “customers will have the option to choose ‘Male,’ ‘Female,’ or ‘X.’” The ‘X’ gender identity accounts for trans, two-spirit, non-binary, and binary individuals, and those who do not wish to disclose their gender to avoid discrimination and harassment because their formal documents do not match their gender identity.

According to Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President of Human Resources and Equity, part of the university’s decision for the change was to keep up with provincial legislation.

Hannah-Moffat said that the university also wants to better capture the diverse community in their systems, so that all members feel respected and welcome.

“We’ve enhanced categories, not only in terms of gender identity, but also in terms of racial identity; allowing people to be more precise in terms of which racialized community they are connected to or feel that they associate with,” she said.

The university is considering adding more specific gender identity titles in addition to ‘X,’ depending on the feedback that they receive from this advancement and any future changes in provincial or federal legislation. The university is also currently limited by the technological capabilities of the Human Resource systems. Their hope is to develop a more inclusive and representative system as the technology advances.

So far, the Human Resources and Equity Office has not received any feedback on the new change from faculty, staff, or the university community.

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