When I was presenting at the dataMinds Connect conference, I called on someone in the audience. At the time, I called on someone raising their hand and said something like, “yes, miss.”.
I got dinged in feedback for assuming someone is a he or she.
At first I wasn’t sure how to take this, but like much of life, I decided to try and learn something. I set aside my feelings and started to look at how I’d address the individual in the future.
I should have asked then, but I didn’t think about it. I keep my “he/him” pronouns on my bio slide, and I’m happy to refer to someone as he, she, or they, as they prefer. It’s a simple thing and I look for the forms of address in other people’s slides and signatures.
However, I’ve grown up with sir, madam, miss, and other forms of addressing someone I don’t know well. I’ve always considered is polite to say sir or miss.
That’s not good enough for the current world and I learned there is a title: Mx. According to a few sources, this is pronounced mooks, as rhyming with books.
Something new for me to think about as I call on people. Certainly I should ask, though asking everyone seems like overkill. Certainly, however, if I’m not sure, I ought to ask.