GoTitleFree's first ever tweet

Five years of allyship

GoTitleFree is 5 years old today!

We’ve come so far since our launch day. 

Starting out as a simple idea, to give every person identity equity through title freedom, we’ve now become an internationally recognised campaign for gender inclusion. 

We’ve produced a clear business case for organisations for going ‘title free’, by demonstrating the huge challenges customer service teams face when working with people who are misrepresented and misgendered by restrictive onboarding processes. We’ve urged uptake of gender inclusiveness training, delivered by us, or anywhere they can get it, to help with understanding the rapidly shifting changes in inclusivity expectations. 

We’ve underpinned the campaign with research, widely undertaken since the first day of our inception; Research which proves that unnecessary categorisations and identity mistakes lead to customer disengagement and therefore financial loss. 

We created a business best practice guide and a benchmark to show business how to assess their title inclusivity gaps, and make practical, meaningful change.

Our petition, the surveys, our blogs, social posts and events have produced a wave of support from people who don’t feel that titles are necessary, or conducive to creating the equal society we need to create a future of togetherness. 

Those people told us their stories, and how ‘Miss’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Mr’, ‘Ms’ and ‘Mx’, along with needlessly gendered language create constant complexities and hurt. 

Widows, divorced women, single women, older women, younger women, single women, non-binary people, trans people – and those who simply want ‘out’ of the world of marital status titles have all connected and shared.

Organisations who restrict people to a list of five titles which enable marital status anonymity for some, (but not all), allow gender authenticity for some, (but not all), is holding us back from celebrating true difference and removing barriers to one-ness. 

We are wonderfully diverse. Not one of us the same.

We are better than five titles. We can do better than the longer list which many organisations create to try mitigate the limitations of traditional titles. 

We can remove that box, together.

It must be together, because change can happen so much faster with allies. 

The last five years of campaigning has been full of support. And we wanted to take a moment on our fifth birthday, to thank some of the biggest allies of GoTitleFree. 

As a special token of appreciation, we have awarded five Orange Heart certificates.

With these, we are thanking:

  • Amy L.Erickson – Reader in Feminist History at the University of Cambridge. Your Mistresses and Marriage paper was one of the only sources of material on the history of titles when we launched five years ago. You inspired us to begin and gave us a wonderful interview. Thank you. 
  • Gita BanerjiEDI and HR specialist – You have ‘Liked’, ‘Shared’, and commented on many of our posts and blogs, highlighting how the Quaker belief in equity means our campaigners are not alone in our desire for a title free world. Thank you. 
  • Kerrie Gemmill CEO of Scouts Cymru – You gave your time in an amazing interview to tell us more about your personal reasons for challenging marital status titles in life and work, giving us one of our favourite quotes: “Titles create binaries and boundaries, when in fact there’s a much more wonderful richness to society today.” Thank you.
  • Craig CockburnDigital Business Leader, Author and Critical Thinking Coach – You have tagged the GoTitleFree campaign in countless challenges to organisations who insist on asking for titles when onboarding their customers, and shared our articles to spread the word far and wide. Thank you!
  • Gavin Sutcliffe – You were my husband at the time of GoTitleFree’s inception, have supported me since the beginning of the journey, and remain one of my biggest allies in work and in life. Thank you!

Grateful thanks to all of our supporters on our fifth birthday. It has not been easy, there have been many challenges along the way, but we can’t wait for the next part of the adventure and welcome anyone who joins us for it.

Stella Sutcliffe


What is happening in the next five years?

  • We are preparing to release a free guide for schools and have received strong support from some who are considering going ‘title free’. 
  • We are working on the GoTitleFree book, which details my journey of creating this campaign, the challenges, the realisations and the whole manifesto for change.
  • We will continue to celebrate all organisations who don’t ask, store or use marital status titles when onboarding and communicating with their customers and people. 
  • We will continue to challenge and support businesses to progress, so that no person feels forced to answer to an identity which doesn’t align with their authentic self.

Which organisations have we celebrated so far?

We are pleased to have congratulated the following organisations on removing all titles from their registration systems and forms:

  • Cadbury World
  • Viking Direct
  • The Range
  • Hello Fresh
  • Denplan
  • Timpson
  • Superdrug
  • John Lewis
  • Decathlon
  • Ticketmaster
  • Hasbro/ Mattel

Here are some of the statistics we have uncovered from our initial surveys and interviews, which studied a cross section of nearly 2000 people:

  • 68% of women said that organisations ‘fairly regularly’ or ‘very often’ got their title wrong when communicating with them.
  • 92% of non-binary people (c270,000 people in the UK) said that they felt titles were not necessary in any situation.
  • 71% of people surveyed by GoTitleFree said that they would be put off buying a product or service if they were addressed incorrectly.

How can you demonstrate support for the campaign?

  1. Sign our petition. This is something everyone can do, and helps us to build the business case for changing the Equality Act, GDPR law, and business behaviour. 
  2. Share – If you are following us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, please do share our posts and blogs. Share our resources with businesses, and encourage them to change. 
  3. Shop – You can demonstrate your support in lots of ways, including wearing and displaying our logo.
  4. Speak – You can record your own 90 second protest against marital status titles here, and add your personal voice to the campaign.
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *