The London North Eastern Railway released an apology to a non-binary passenger after a conductor included “ladies and gentleman” in a train announcement.
While commuting on the LNER, Laurence Coles, a train guard and LGBTQ+ rep for the RMT union, became uncomfortable after the conductor used the gender-exclusive phrase.
Taking to Twitter, Coles expressed their disappointment for the employee’s language.
“‘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,” they tweeted.
Charlotte Monroe, a friend of Coles, was also present at the time of the incident and tweeted their disappointment to LNER as well.
“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,” they wrote.
Like Coles, Monroe is also a railway employee, having created the UK’s first-ever Pride Train known as the Progress Train.
“This comes from an operator that has made a *big* push on LGBTQ+ inclusivity, including prominent Trainbow campaigns,” they said.
“Both Laurence and I were ourselves, customers of the railway – being rail staff does not absolve an operator of the duty of care or responsibility to be inclusive.”
LNER swiftly responded to Coles tweet with an apology for the announcement and the train conductor’s language.
“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,” the company tweeted.
“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.”
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.
— London North Eastern Railway (@LNER) May 11, 2021
According to a report from the Telegraph, LNER has enacted a new policy that will not allow train managers to use “ladies and gentlemen” due to Tuesday’s incident.