Transport for London’s move to scrap ‘ladies and gentlemen’ from tannoy announcements is both ridiculous and sinister.
The Evening Standard is reporting that TfL have agreed with campaigning groups who claim that gender-specific language is outdated.
They suggest that ‘lady, gentleman, sir or madam’ are inappropriate terms for a society which recognises a broad spectrum of gender identities – not just man or woman (binary) but also those in between those identities (non-binary) or who identify as non-gender.
The changing of public address announcements is not just a simple update of language to a modern equivalent but part of an ideology that wants to separate gender identity (a matter of personal feeling) from gender reality (a matter of biological fact).
We believe that in the beginning God made a world of diverse creatures including human beings – male and female. We want to recognise and embrace gender distinctions – male and female – as something objectively true, but also something good and helpful for society, for family life and for finding our way in the world. We believe it is demeaning, reductionist and dangerous to flatten those distinctions.
Imagine going to a zoo and being told that none of the residents are given names, but instead all will be called by the generic term ‘animal’. What a dull and dangerous zoo. Perhaps worse there may be the worry that just in case some of the animals might believe they are in fact a grain of sand or a star in the sky the labels are changed to ‘thing’ so as not to cause offence to anyone. We would rightly say that was just plain crazy.
The same is true of relegating gender pronouns to a bygone era. It is equally ludicrous to ignore the reality and richness of male and female distinctions and it spoils our enjoyment and safe navigation of the diverse world God has made.
None of this is to deny there are people going through genuine struggles for whom gender specific announcements might cause them pain but blurring the distinctions and denying the reality will not help them in the long run. Knowing who they are in Christ and who they are as God has made them is how we begin to solve the identity crisis with God’s help.
For a helpful book on gender issues you could take a look at Transgender by Vaughan Roberts from the Good Book Company