London took another step in the direction of identity politics over biology, embracing the abolition of insensitive and destructive pronouns like “he and she”, or in London’s case “ladies and gentlemen” from transport announcements.
As part of a push to become more gender-neutral and less gender-reality, London transport workers have been told to stop using the phrase “ladies and gentlemen” in announcements.
From now on, all city public transport passengers will be greeted with phrases like “good morning everyone”…or to be even more inclusive to all sensitivities, London transport may try a greeting like: “Good morning all Agender, Androgyne, Androgynous, Bigender, Cis, Cisgender, Cis, Female, Cis Male, Cis Man, Cis Woman, Cisgender Female, Cisgender Male, Cisgender Man, Cisgender, Woman, Female to Male, FTM, Gender Fluid, Gender Nonconforming, Gender Questioning, Gender, Variant, Genderqueer, Intersex, Male to Female, MTF, Neither, Neutrois, Non-binary, Other, Pangender, Trans, Trans*, Trans Female, Trans* Female, Trans Male, Trans* Male, Trans Man, Trans* Man, Trans Person, Trans* Person, Trans Woman, Trans* Woman, Transfeminine, Transgender, Transgender Female, Transgender Male, Transgender Man, Transgender Person, Transgender Woman, Transmasculine, Transsexual, Transsexual Female, Transsexual Male, Transsexual Man, Transsexual Person, Transsexual Woman, Two-Spirit passengers.”
The order follows months of campaigning by LGBTQ activists, who appealed to London Mayor Sadiq Khan to change the language used by train and bus drivers, which they described as “polite but really belonging to yesterday,” according to the Evening Standard.
The Transport for London (TfL) rule book used to state: “When using the Public Address (PA) system, you must start all service information announcements with ‘Ladies and gentlemen,’ except for routine announcements such as ‘mind the gap’ and ‘stand clear of the doors.’”
Now staff will use terms such as “good morning everyone.” All new pre-recorded announcements are also set to be changed to new phrases.
TfL’s customer strategy boss, Mark Evers, said they want “everyone to feel welcome on our transport network,” adding “we have reviewed the language that we use in announcements and elsewhere and will make sure that it is fully inclusive, reflecting the great diversity of London.”
The move comes after Green Party equalities spokesperson Aimee Challenor was left “humiliated” after she was told she “didn’t sound like a Miss” during a telephone call to TfL’s Oyster helpline.
Challenor, 19, welcomed the change, saying the terms “hello everyone” or “all passengers for…” would be more appropriate.
“People are saying it’s such a small thing and ‘get a life.’ It’s these little things which can make people’s lives better.
“London is a city I love travelling through, it’s diverse. But hearing these announcements – we are living in the 21st century, not the 19th.”