Last week, Transport for London (TFL) announced that they will be adopting gender-neutral announcements across their network and ditching the old “Ladies and gentlemen” salutations. Really, it’s about time. If you even, for one minute, leave aside the fact that this traditional greeting excludes those sections of society who do not identify as being either of those things, it’s at the very simplest level, old-fashioned and out-dated language. One does not wonder, as they stand on a dusty tube platform “Wherefore dost thou methods of transportation be of such a tardy nature?”. So there’s really no need for the announcements to follow a similarly Shakespearean format. The Globe might be around the corner, but that kind of prose is best left to the actors.
The decision to abolish gender-entombed terminology has been met with heated discussion on various online forums and articles, with some individuals claiming that they are a lady/gentleman and why should they be ‘excluded’ by taking away this title? But surely the alternative greeting ‘Good morning everyone’ is nothing but inclusive? It even incorporates those pesky tube rats.
‘Be’ is a voluntary organisation based locally here in the North East that supports the needs and development of Trans and non-binary individuals. In response to some of the backlash appearing online, they have written a thought-provoking blog post addressing some of the comments and issues raised over the past week. Their message is clear: Language matters. And by making what are really only minor changes to how we address one another, we can have a massive impact on how comfortable we make one another feel.
As Northern Pride hits the Town Moor for 3 days of celebrating diversity with music and fun this weekend, perhaps this is exactly the time when we need to take a second to mind what we say. Volunteers from FMS will be going along to support a range of stalls and events happening over the weekend and cheer along the Frontrunners race . So we’re certain that the only salutations to be heard there will be ‘Go for it. You’re bloomin’ great!’