If I write a letter to someone I have not written to before, I do my best to discover their name and use the appropriate title and their surname.

I recently needed to write to the administration section of a University, and I was wondering whether the traditional "Dear Sir/Madam" was still acceptable given the fact that some women prefer to be called "Ms" instead of "Miss" or "Mrs" and that the LGBTQ members of society may not identify as either Male or Female.

I have read How should I address someone with a known name and unknown gender?, Why haven't we used "it" instead of "he or she"? and even Is there a correct gender-neutral singular pronoun ("his" vs. "her" vs. "their")?, however, none of them seem to provide an answer.

Note that I do not believe this is a duplicate of "Dear Sir or Madam" versus "To whom it may concern" as that question does not take the concern of gender identity into account, merely the concern of not knowing who to address a letter to.

Can anyone enlighten me on current protocol?

  • Related, How to use title in salutation, when recepient's name is unknown
    – user140086
    Jun 3, 2016 at 9:07
  • Dear Citizen? Dear Comrade? Dear Gentlebeing?
    – bof
    Jun 3, 2016 at 10:03
  • 1
    Given that 'Madam' doesn't directly denote either 'Miss' or 'Mrs', I'm not sure how the addition of 'Ms' to the lexicon changes that aspect of your question.
    – Spagirl
    Jun 3, 2016 at 10:07
  • I'd address it to Dear Sir or Madam.
    – ab2
    Jun 5, 2016 at 20:05


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