Now, the London Underground, also known as “The Tube,” has announced that they are changing the language in their public announcements to become more inclusive of the many of genders that have suddenly appeared on the radar.
Transport for London (TfL), the government body responsible for the Tube, said their employees will soon begin using good morning or good afternoon “everyone” as an alternative to phrases such as “ladies and gentleman.” [sic]
Mark Evers, director of customer strategy for TfL, said the initiative was a new effort to make all passengers feel welcome on the underground rail network in the UK’s capital. “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,” Evers said in a statement Thursday.
“Great diversity,” huh? There are some obvious advantages to the language change. The announcements will be a little shorter for those with lower attention spans. Bros and hookers and little kids won’t feel left out.
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan says that the new announcements are wonderful because inclusion is “at the heart” of the purpose of London’s transportation services, which is funny because I assumed the heart of the purpose of the Tube was to get folks from point A to point B.
The riders are fully behind the language change, too – at least the one customer CNN spoke with.
Passenger Marie Erking told CNN she likes the idea. “Everyone should feel included in everything they do,” she said.
But here’s the thing that I wonder when I read stories like this. Have we jumped the shark when it comes to this whole gender inclusivity thing? I mean, if I identified as a woman, I would think it would be an honor to be referred to as a lady. Same goes with if I were a woman who identified as a man. “Lady” and “Gentleman” are terms of dignity, and they’re meant to show respect.
Besides, “ladies and gentlemen” is a time-honored phrase that’s meant to cover everybody. If I’m at an event where I hear someone announce “ladies and gentlemen,” I never think, “Gosh, that woman over there is no lady,” or, “That guy certainly isn’t a gentleman.”
The bottom line is that I think organizations like London Underground and so many others are simply overthinking this bending over backward to make sure we include everybody, especially considering the fact that they’re worried about such a small percentage of the populace. Good grief.