The London tube is policing innocuous language in the name of inclusion.
According to The Independent, Transport for London drivers will now be banned from using the apparently offensive phrase “ladies and gentlemen” in exchange for more inclusive, gender-neutral words, like “everyone” and “all.”
The ban comes after LGBT activists spoke out, claiming the common phrase “belonged to yesterday” and was “outdated.”
Even pre-recorded announcements with the phrase, and written guidelines, will be amended, notes The Independent.
“We want everyone to feel welcome on our transport network,” Mark Evers, director of Transport for London’s customer strategy, told Metro.
“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,” he added.
Apparently London Mayor Sadiq Khan is on board with the speech policing, noting in June that he’s “keen that [Transport for London] addresses these concerns by speaking in a more neutral way when referring to gender.”
The tube “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,” he added.
“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,” said a spokesperson for Stonewall, an LGBT charity.
We welcome gender neutral announcements to be rolled out across [Transport for London], as it will ensure that everyone – no matter who they identify as – feels accounted for,” added the spokesperson.
But how exactly is “ladies and gentlemen” offensive? Don’t gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and even trans people identify as either a gentleman or a lady? Well, some people might “identify” as neutrois, a hippopotamus, or perhaps a lamp, and how bigoted would it be if we did not completely alter our perception of gender, which is rooted in biology, and police our language in light of such feelings?
As noted by The Independent, the U.K. saw more speech policing earlier this year: “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.”
Censorship is so progressive.