Gender Neutral TfL; an empty promise from the Mayor

In November last year, I had a nasty experience on the Transport for London (TfL) Oyster card helpline. In the face of the transphobia I received, I worked with Sian Berry, one of the Green Party’s London Assembly members to resolve it.

In response to the incident, Sadiq Khan and Transport for London apologised and pledged to make their language ‘Gender Neutral’, this means they would stop using terms such as “Ladies and Gentlemen”. Khan’s response was widely publicised, even in other countries, and I was asked invasive and personal questions by reporters about my transition, I toughed through it though, thinking that we’d made progress, the issue was going to be sorted, and the capital’s transport network would be more inclusive. Some saw it as a bold move, but it was the right move for London’s diversity.

So you can imagine my disappointment over the last seven months as myself and others keep hearing “Ladies and Gentlemen” and other gendered language throughout the TfL network. I wasn’t the only one disappointed, so on the 22nd of June, Sian Berry asked the Mayor about it again. Sadiq Khan responded, saying that TfL had briefed staff on the changes.

It continued happening however, more “Ladies and Gentlemen”, so I did some digging, posted on Social Media about it. I struck a result, a TfL Staff Member, who has requested anonymity, reached out to me, sending me a screenshot of the TfL rule book.

This is what it says;

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I’ve tried offering to with the Mayor and TfL on this, it clearly hasn’t worked. So let me be clear, trans and non-binary travellers deserve better than empty promises from Sadiq Khan and Transport for London. On Saturday, the Mayor will be celebrating LGBT+ diversity at Pride in London, perhaps he could put actions behind his words and showboating, and stop letting down diverse Londoners and visitors.

One thought on “Gender Neutral TfL; an empty promise from the Mayor

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi Aimee,

    As a woman with a trans history, I’m very comfortable being referred to within the gender binary… …I can even feel validated by this. I understand that this is not true for everyone though.

    Specifically, I have two concerns.

    Firstly, like it or not, we live in a world where the vast majority of people recognise gender as being binary,and I think it is probably too much to expect that this will change. If some trans folk are seen as trying to impose their vocabulary on the wider community there will undoubtedly be a backlash, to the detriment of all trans people.

    Secondly, no individual can speak for a community, and represent the experiences, values and beliefs of the whole of that community. I would urge anyone who seeks to speak on behalf trans people to reflect on this fact, and to ensure that their messages are not presented outside the trans community as being the voice of us all.

    Best wishes,

    Jennifer

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