The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), New York City’s subway and bus system, will no longer refer to passengers as “ladies and gentlemen” and will instead be using gender-neutral subway announcements. With approximately 5.6 million people riding the subway on the average weekday, this step towards embracing the entire LGBTQ community is a big one.
A bulletin sent to transit staff this week contained details about the updated policy, according to local news source PIX11. Commuters from now on will be addressed in friendly-sounding pre-recorded and live messages as “passengers,” “riders” and “everyone.”
PIX 11 reported on Friday that the train and bus announcements are being made over in more ways than one—it’s all part of the NYC Subway Action Plan. Conductors will soon be verbally detailing landmarks at certain subway stops. MTA spokesperson Jon Weinstein told PIX II, “We’re fundamentally changing the way we talk with riders to give them better and clearer information.”
This step taken by the MTA to begin using gender-neutral subway phrasing comes after The London Underground did the same thing in July.
The New York City subway system’s embrace of the LGBTQ community was shown in another way earlier this year when a portrait of a same-sex couple holding hands was unveiled at one of their new subway stations.
Three-dozen portraits depicting everyday New Yorkers waiting for a train adorn the walls of the new station at 96th Street in the Upper East Side. One of those portraits is of married couple Thor Stockman and Patrick Kellogg.
The couple is particularly proud of their participation in the project because they don’t feel represented in popular culture. “Our friends were happy that this is gay representation on the walls of New York City, but our friends were even happier that this is gay representation that is not incredibly beautiful and skinny,” Kellogg told The New York Post.