In Depth

Tube staff told not to say 'ladies and gentlemen'

TfL employees must stick to 'inclusive' gender-neutral language

Transport for London services will no longer use the expression "ladies and gentlemen", which LGBTQ campaigners say is a gendered phrase that "belongs to yesterday".

Station staff have been told to avoid the phrase when making tannoy announcements, in favour of gender-neutral expressions such as "good morning, everyone", the Evening Standard reports.

Recorded announcements using the phrase will be phased out and replaced as part of the revamp, which TfL’s customer strategy head Mark Evers said would encourage "everyone to feel welcome on our transport network".

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan first floated the change of terminology last year, following an incident in which a transgender woman trying to use the Oyster card helpline was quizzed on her identity and told she didn't "sound like a 'Miss'" by a TfL phone operator.

Khan apologised for the employee's "inappropriate" comment and told London Assembly members that TfL was working with trans groups on ideas to improve their service, including "implementing gender-neutral announcements across its network".

Advocacy groups welcomed TfL's announcement, including Mermaids, which offers support to young transgender and non-binary people and their families.

"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," a spokesman for LGBTQ charity Stonewall 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."

The existence of non-traditional gender identities is "increasingly recognised and respected within society", Bernard Reed, a trustee of the Gender Identity Research and Education Society, told the Standard.

"People have a broad spectrum of gender identities, which could be as a man or as a woman (binary) or in between those identities (non-binary) or as non-gender," he said.

In March, Cardiff Metropolitan University issued students and staff a list of 34 words and phrases to avoid on campus, including "mankind", "forefathers" and "right-hand man".

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