Wikinews interviews Tom Pashby, leader of campaign group Include Mx

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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Pashby in 2020.
Image: MJ6827.

Wikinews reporter Ash Thawley on June 10 interviewed Tom Pashby, head of advocacy group Include Mx, which has encouraged companies to allow customers to select the gender-neutral Mx as their honorific on forms; like Pashby, who is non-binary, some non-binary individuals and those not declaring their gender use Mx.

Pashby started a petition in July pressuring Argos to provide customers that option, noting the British retailer was using the pride colours in their logo; the petition has garnered almost 13,000 signatures. Earlier this month, Argos' parent company, Sainsbury's, told The Retail Bulletin they wanted to be an "inclusive retailer" and customers should "bear with... [them] while this is worked through".

Interview with Pashby

((WN)) What is Include Mx?

((Tom Pashby)) Include Mx is a micro-campaign that celebrates organisations which include the gender-neutral title Mx on their forms and encourages others to adopt Mx.

((WN)) What prompted the creation of Include Mx? Was there a specific inciting event?

((Tom Pashby)) Yes — it was during the first year of the pandemic when we were relying more on online orders and deliveries. I needed to buy some household items from Argos. Argos require customers to select a title to complete a purchase, but they don't offer Mx as a title option. As a non-binary person this was immensely frustrating. Instead of just sending an angry tweet about it, I decided to dedicate who knows how many days a[sic] weeks to a whole campaign encouraging major brands such as Argos to add Mx.

((WN)) How often do companies respond positively to the campaign? Are there any that have responded negatively?

((Tom Pashby)) I'd say it's about 50/50. The campaigns[sic] that do respond more often say they will 'look into it'. Argos has been 'looking into it' since about 2011. No companies respond in a particularly negative way.

((WN)) Which company do you think has handled adding the Mx title the best?

((Tom Pashby)) Wilko and River Island were the best big brands in terms of their responses to the campaign. They added Mx almost immediately after I asked them and sent me public statements of support.

((WN)) Have you received any personal backlash over your campaign?

((Tom Pashby)) I'm surprised to say that I haven't had much. I've received plenty of hate and transphobia as a result of other LGBTQIA+ campaigning I've done. The one really negative thing that's come out of Include Mx was a hit piece by the Daily Mail about a parliamentary question tabled by Alex Sobel MP for the campaign. Thankfully they didn't appear to have googled Mx so they didn't notice the campaign nor I.

((WN)) What do you see in the future for Include Mx?

((Tom Pashby)) I hope it will be redundant soon because companies will have either added Mx or deleted their title fields.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.