So this week has added a great deal of fuel to the dumpster fire of American politics. We’ve got the president’s son and son-in-law meeting with Russian nationals in the hopes that they could trash Hillary Clinton. We’ve got a version of the GOP healthcare bill that will let insurers take your money in exchange for plans that cover virtually nothing. We’ve got the president having a very weird visit with the French president and his wife, which culminated in a handshake that looked like an arm wresting match.
But there are nice things in the world. Just go to London and take public transport.
For years, employees of the Tube in London have started announcements over the public address systems by saying “Ladies and gentlemen.” It's a very polite, very British way of asking for the attention of passengers before giving them some kind of important information.
But the words "lady" and "gentleman" don't quite cover all the kinds of humans there are in the world. Trans, genderqueer, or non-binary people don't necessarily consider themselves ladies or gentlemen. Hearing that over and over again would be like getting lemon juice in a paper cut for someone with a non-typical gender identity. It's just one more way they feel left out.
British LGBTQ activists have worked with the mayor of London to figure out a way to address the issue. Together they have come up with a new, polite, inclusive opening for Tube announcements. Employees will now say “Hello everybody” as their opening phrase.
So simple, right? So perfectly inclusive, and so simple.
The mayor acknowledges that it may take time for staff to get used to the change — old habits die hard, after all. But progress is progress. This is one very lovely way of saying that everyone counts. Thank you, London, for doing the right thing.