It’s a familiar greeting on trains, buses, and public announcements: “Ladies and gentlemen…”
However, it’s unnecessarily exclusive and ignores people who don’t identify within this strict gender binary.
Instead, the transportation office for the city of London will replace the phrase with “Hello, everyone.”
London Underground employees have been instructed to use the new phrasing in live announcements, and it will be rolled out on prerecorded messages across the entire Transport for London (TfL) network.
“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,” TfL’s director of customer strategy, Mark Evers, said in a recent statement.
LGBTQ activists and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have been pushing for this shift to gender-neutral language.
In December 2016, a 19-year-old transgender woman called the transportation ticket hotline and was quizzed about her gender by a TfL associate. Khan apologized for the employee’s rude behavior and announced that TfL would work with LGBTQ groups to improve service across the network.
Stonewall, a U.K.-based LGBTQ advocacy group, cheered the change in a recent statement.
“We welcome gender neutral announcements to be rolled out across TfL as it will ensure that everyone — no matter who they identify as — feels accounted for.”
Everyone deserves to feel welcome on their way to work, to school, or to meet with friends.
This simple change is a great first step. Let’s keep the good going.