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“Ladies” and “Gentlemen” Announcements Banned on NYC Transit System


MTA transit workers recently received a bulletin that requires them to use gender-neutral terms such as “passengers,” “riders” or “everyone,” the New York Post reported, adding that conductors will override prerecorded greetings that use “ladies and gentlemen” until the replacements are made.

“Please don’t use any greeting other than these,” the memo says. It also directs conductors on newer trains with automated announcements to override the prerecorded message with the updated, PC ones, until the agency can get them changed out.

The bulletin warns workers that line managers and train service supervisors will be monitoring them to make sure they don’t use the old phrasing.

An MTA spokesperson said that gender issues were a consideration for the move.

“They are trying to be politically correct,” said station worker and Transport Workers Union Local 100 member Anthony Staley. “They are acknowledging that they have some transgender riders. They don’t want to offend anyone.”

Last year, the New York City Commission of Human Rights released a list of gender-neutral pronouns to all the city’s businesses and landlords. The list required business owners and landlords to use gender pronouns like “ze,” which can be used instead of “he” or “she,” and “hir,” which is similar to “they.” A business could be fined as much as $250,000 for willful, hostile and repeated misuse of pronouns.

According to a recent report, to fund the program, the MTA’s debt service and other operating resources are expected to increase over the next five years by 22 percent to $3.5 billion.

In addition, the authority’s debt service is projected to total about $2.6 billion in 2017, almost a threefold increase since 2003, and is projected to reach $3.4 billion by 2022.

There has been no estimate of how much new announcements throughout the city’s massive transportation system would cost.



Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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2 thoughts on ““Ladies” and “Gentlemen” Announcements Banned on NYC Transit System”

  1. Most languages except modern German and English have are based in gender. The idea of using gender neutral pronouns reminds me of the push to ebonics. Where is that now? In NY, you could actually be insulting and get fined for being polite? I think i’ll add this to my pet peeve of pressing “1” for english!

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