London Underground staff have been told to ditch the phrase “ladies and gentlemen” in a bid to go gender-neutral. Instead, staff should use inclusive greetings like “good morning everyone” to make passengers feel more welcome.
The decision comes after various activists, including LGBT charity Stonewall, campaigned for the change for months, claiming that although “ladies and gentlemen” was “polite”, it was “outdated” and “belonged to yesterday”.
Pre-recorded announcements and written guidelines for staff will also be reviewed and amended across the city. Talking to the Metro, Mark Evers, director of customer strategy at TfL, said: ‘We want everyone to feel welcome on our transport 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.”
MAD: London Underground banning 'ladies and gentlemen' announcement. Yes, seriously. 🙄https://t.co/QqYOoBHDLK
— Westmonster (@WestmonsterUK) July 13, 2017
During a Mayor’s Question Time at the end of June, Sadiq Khan expressed concern that some customers did not feel comfortable about how certain station announcements were made. “I am keen that TfL addresses these concerns by speaking in a more neutral way when referring to gender,” he said. “TfL has made a commitment to transition from gender-specific phrases like ‘ladies and gentlemen’ which are currently used in announcements, to a gender-neutral alternative such as ‘good morning/good afternoon everyone. TfL has briefed its staff on this, though from time to time, well-meaning staff may still use the term ‘ladies and gentlemen’. If this happens frequently, TfL will issue reminders to staff.”
A spokesman for Stonewall said: “Language is extremely important to the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community, and the way we use it can help ensure all people feel included. 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.”
Institutions across the UK have made similar commitments this year, including Cardiff Metropolitan University’s decision to ban phrases like “forefathers” and “right-hand man” in March. The “Ladies and Gentlemen” intro was introduced by former Tube MD Tim O’Toole who was an American. Tim felt announcements could be too brusque and impersonal and the intro reflected English politeness. It was part of a wider strategy recognising the Tube could never be like new build metros in other cities but as the first Metro it had a unique heritage and record of service which was appreciated by Londoner’s and Visitors alike.
What do you think of this change and remember you can’t preface your comments with “Hey, you Guys!”
The phrase 'ladies and gentlemen' will no longer be used in London Underground announcements, as bosses look to make the service more gender-neutral. Read more: http://bit.ly/2uS3KbH
Posted by ITV London on Thursday, 13 July 2017
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