London Underground announcements will now be in ‘gender-neutral’ language, after a change in policy.
Transport for London (TfL) has informed its workers to begin announcements with ‘hello everyone’ instead of ‘ladies and gentlemen’ to ensure Tube stations are “fully inclusive”.
Homosexual lobby group Stonewall celebrated the news, claiming that language is “extremely important to the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community”.
Before the change was announced, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said he was “keen” that TfL speak “in a more neutral way when referring to gender”.
Responding to the move, a Stonewall spokesman said: “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.”
TfL says it will “issue reminders to staff” who still use the phrase ‘ladies and gentleman’.
Speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute Simon Calvert said: “I think that there will be many transgender people themselves who would say they are not offended by people saying ladies and gentlemen.
“And we also have to be very careful about trying to adjust the whole of reality and the whole of society just through the lens, the experience and the feelings of one group of people.
“We used to talk a lot about diversity, that word doesn’t get used as much anymore. There’s very much a sense of uniformity and that everybody has to think and believe the same things, especially when it comes to LGBT issues, but people don’t.
“I think that most people whether they support LGBT rights or not, or whether they are somewhere in the middle, I think that most people will think this is a huge over-reaction.”
In 2012, TfL allowed a pro-gay ad by campaign group Stonewall saying: “Some People Are Gay. Get Over It”, to be displayed on buses.
But TfL banned an ad for the Christian counselling group, Core Issues Trust, which said: “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get Over It!”
At a High Court hearing, the judge upheld the ban but ruled that TfL’s policy had been “inconsistently” and “partially” applied.