Train firm apologises to ‘non-binary’ passenger after he took offence at conductor’s ‘ladies and gentlemen’ announcement


Train firm apologises to ‘non-binary’ passenger after he took offence at conductor’s ‘ladies and gentlemen’ announcement

A train company has apologised for not being inclusive after a conductor welcomed passengers on board by saying, “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls”.

The London North Eastern Railway (LNER) issued an apology after passenger Laurence Coles complained that they neither identify as male nor female.

Coles took to Twitter to complain about the announcement, writing: “‘Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…’ so as a non-binary person this announcement doesn’t actually apply to me so I won’t listen”.

Laurence’s friend Charlotte Monroe, 28, also contacted the company, saying: “I was sat with Laurence when this tweet was sent. Both of us are non-binary, and we were both alarmed and uncomfortable by the lack of inclusion.”

LNER responded saying: “I’m really sorry to see this, Laurence, our Train Managers should not be using language like this, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

“Please could you let me know which service you are on and I will ensure they remain as inclusive as we strive to be at LNER.

“We’ve been working very hard with educating our people on why gender specific pronouns are not suitable in instances like these, and we’re sorry to see this has not been applied here.

“It is entirely valid for someone who does not identify with the terms used to feel excluded and as a business we do not accept that anyone should feel excluded.”

But the apology was not welcomed by all passengers.

Jay Beecher, a passenger who was not pleased that LNER apologised, said: “My Dad was a train driver. If someone ‘non-binary’ tried kicking off at him over a tannoy announcement addressing passengers as ‘ladies and gentlemen’, I’m sure he’d have rightly told them to identify as a car and drive themselves the f*ck home.”

James Dreyfus added: “When, oh when, will this mindless idiocy end?”

An LNER spokesperson said: “We are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do for our customers, colleagues and communities.

“Our policies and procedures are reviewed regularly and in light of recent comments, we will review if any further changes need to be made.”

Transport For London (TfL) ordered staff in 2017 not to use “ladies and gentlemen” to prevent staff from offending transgender passengers on London’s bus, Tube and rail network.

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