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Sadiq Khan "considering gender-neutral announcements" for TfL after trans woman is mocked by staff

2016-12-09
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is considering removing gender-specific terms from Transport for London announcements after a transgender woman was reportedly mocked by TfL staff, Aimee Challenor, 19, is said to have been told that she "didn't sounds like a miss" while on the phone to TfL. "I just said 'but I am, I am Aimee Challenor,' and they replied: ‘but you don’t sound like a miss’. I was in shock, I didn’t really know how to respond," she told The Independent. "I knew it wasn’t right. London is massively diverse and it’s something we should be incredibly proud of so I knew it had to be raised. If it affected me, it could affect anyone." She added: "I wish that person hadn’t done that and I do blame them for it in a certain sense but it also shows that TfL's training isn’t where it needs to be – trans has become public knowledge now." The Mayor has since apologised and called for an investigation. "TfL’s approach is centred on treating everyone equally, while understanding the specific needs of different customers," he said. The Huffington Post reported that Khan is now considering changing  the words "ladies and gentlemen" to a gender-neutral option on TfL announcements. “I have asked for a review of training and procedures to ensure that TfL always provides a professional, respectful service that is inclusive and sensitive to the needs of all Londoners," he said. “TfL also works with charity groups who represent the trans community, to foster understanding and encourage open dialogue to improve transport services. For example, it is working on implementing gender-neutral announcements across its network.” The Green Party's former mayoral candidate Siân Berry welcomed the possibility of gender-neutral announcements, pointing out that "a large number of Londoners will be trans and non-binary. "Gender-neutral announcements will make a difference not just to trans people but to everyone who thinks being greeted as 'ladies and gentleman’ is out of date," she said. TfL's director of customer strategy, Mark Evers, told The Independent: "London is a diverse city and we want every customer to feel welcome. We are currently reviewing the language that we use at our stations to make sure that it is inclusive and addresses every customer, regardless of their race, gender identity, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion."