A British train company that was founded in 2003 and takes passengers from London King’s Cross to Yorkshire, North East England, and Scotland, apologized to a “non-binary” passenger after a conductor used the phrase, “Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls.”
The “non-binary” passenger, who reportedly serves as the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union’s LGBT rep, tweeted to the London North Eastern Railway (LNER), “‘Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, boys and girls …’ so as a non binary person this announcement doesn’t actually apply to me so I won’t listen @LNER.”
The train company replied, “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 will remain as inclusive as we strive to be at LNER.”
A train company has apologised following a complaint from a non-binary passenger after the conductor greeted customers by saying "good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls." pic.twitter.com/E1kmtmMh56
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) May 13, 2021
An alleged compatriot of the passenger wrote, “Both Laurence and I were customers of the railway — being rail staff does not absolve an operator from the duty of care or responsibility to be inclusive. 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.”
Mark Jenkinson, the Conservative MP for Workington, blasted the train company, saying, “You’d be forgiven for thinking this Train Manager had unleashed a tirade of abuse. ‘Should not be using language like this.’ He’d actually said ‘Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.’ Identify however you like, but can we stop this nonsense?”
You’d be forgiven for thinking this Train Manager had unleashed a tirade of abuse.
“should not be using language like this”
He’d actually said “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls”
Identify however you like, but can we stop this nonsense? https://t.co/KuA4hLIQ8O
— Mark Jenkinson MP (@markjenkinsonmp) May 12, 2021
A talk radio host snapped, “Stop pandering to this nonsense. Your announcer said nothing wrong. Laurence’s complaint is ridiculous. No one was excluded or discriminated against. Just do your job of running trains on time and leave the woke politics to someone else with nothing better to do.”
Stop pandering to this nonsense. Your announcer said nothing wrong. Laurence's complaint is ridiculous. No one was excluded or discriminated against. Just do your job of running trains on time and leave the woke politics to someone else with nothing better to do.
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) May 12, 2021
The chief executive of Conservative Home echoed the criticism of the passenger, writing, “Hi — regular passenger here. I really like it when your staff are human and light hearted like this, and would very much prefer it if you didn’t forbid them from doing so or require them to talk like scripted robots. Thanks!”
Hi – regular passenger here. I really like it when your staff are human and light hearted like this, and would very much prefer it if you didn’t forbid them from doing so or require them to talk like scripted robots. Thanks!
— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) May 13, 2021
According to MyLondon, one person responded to the original complaint by writing, “I’ve never received such a grovelling apology, despite as a disabled passenger, repeatedly being treated appallingly by rail services & neither has my daughter, who as a young woman, was left stranded alone in London last year, after her last train was cancelled. Why is that?”
LNER issued a statement saying, “We are committed to diversity and inclusion in all that we do for our customers, colleagues and communities, and encourage our onboard teams to welcome all customers onboard. Our policies and procedures are reviewed regularly and we will review if any further changes need to be made.”
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