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The correct form of address in application forms

Companies have been required since 2020 to provide a gender-neutral salutation in their correspondence to be linguistically inclusive of people with non-binary genders. This means that in the application forms for markets and folk festivals and in the respective correspondence, attention must also be paid to a gender-conforming address. The following article summarizes how to master gender-responsive addresses in your Volkfest planning correspondence.

A gender-conform salutation in forms is mandatory

The “Mr.” and “Ms.” salutation options in forms fall short. This was stated by the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court in a ruling at the end of 2020. This is because the bisexual form of address does not include people, with a non-binary gender identity, and is therefore discriminatory. The ruling can be traced back to a case in Frankfurt: A person of non-binary gender had filed a lawsuit because she wanted to buy a rail ticket online from Deutsche Bahn and the form only provided a purely binary form of address option (Mr. and Ms.). The Frankfurt Regional Court upheld the plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief.

In Germany, it has already been possible since 2018 to enter a third option for gender in the birth register and to indicate it as a gender entry in the ID card. Changing the form of address in forms and other correspondence is thus not only a matter of respect for non-binary persons, but also one of duty.

There are still no fixed regulations for the spelling of the gender-appropriate form of address.

There is currently no official spelling of gender-appropriate address. Rather, there are recommendations on how to formulate the salutation in a gender-conforming manner. One possibility is to extend the common binary form of address, “Dear …” and “Dear …”, to include “Dear …”. Alternatively, special characters such as “Dear:r” or “Dear*e” can be used. Probably the most practical form is to keep the salutation short and resort to a “Good day, [first name, last name]” or “Hello, [first name, last name]”.

The selection options of the salutation “Divers” should always be added to application forms

There is a simple way to find out the right way to address a person: ask questions. Therefore, if it is decided to continue to use a gendered form of address and not to use a gender-neutral form of address such as “Good day, [first name, last name]” for all persons, a form of address should be established in the application forms for Christmas markets, fun fairs and folk festivals that, in addition to the options “Mr.” and “Ms.”, also has the selection “Divers” ready.

The term “Divers” has already become established in Germany and is used to address people who do not identify as either male or female or who have gender diversity within them. It is therefore a good way to express respect and equal treatment.

In a digital application form, the selection options for the form of address can be adapted and thus made gender-conformant.

Use the correct salutation in all correspondence

If you know the preferred salutation of the person to be addressed, it should be reflected in all written correspondence you have with them and not fall into old patterns. This is where Market Master Pro helps. As a planning tool for the folk festival industry, Marktmeister Pro supports all written correspondence with the advertising businesses. With the software it is possible to integrate the gender-conform salutation and to use it for all written correspondence. Once the preferred form of address has been entered in the tool via the application, it is automatically used in all correspondence.

Create so at the touch of a button:

  • Acceptance and rejection notices
  • Contracts
  • Invoices
  • and other important information such as set-up and dismantling times

For more information on automated salutations and gender-conforming options, contact your Market Master Pro consultant or write to us here.

A gender-conforming salutation can easily be incorporated into job application forms (Photo source: Alexander Grey).

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