- - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Some of our “genders” are out of control. It was never like this when everyone had not a gender, but a “sex,” for better or worse. Anyone confused about which could look at a driver’s license, or a student ID, and there it was, in black and white. But this was not good enough for the arbiters of political correctness.

The New York subway system is doing away with the perfectly accurate if not politically correct terminology of “ladies and gentlemen,” as used on its public-address system. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announcements of delays, detours and derailments to the multitudes aboard or waiting impatiently on the platforms will henceforth will be addressed to “riders” or “passengers.” This follows the example of the London Underground, where “ladies and gentlemen” have been replaced by “Hello, everyone.”

This is intended, so we’re told, to make sure all passengers feel welcome. “We have reviewed the language that we use in announcements and elsewhere,” said Mark Evers, a spokesperson for the Underground, “and will make sure that it is fully inclusive, reflecting the great diversity of London” (though not necessarily reflecting that the trains run on time). Clarity in communications was once what language was meant to achieve, but that, apparently, is much too 20th century.

This is the usual solution in search of a problem, since it’s not at all clear that anyone ever felt “unwelcome” or “excluded,” except for turnstile-jumpers, most of whom readily identify as male.

“Ladies and gentlemen” does not, to be sure, cover all 71 “gender” options used by Facebook in the United Kingdom, about a dozen more than in the United States, but if each “gender” should get a call-out in an announcement of a delay, for example, the repairs will probably have been made by the time the announcer gets through 71 “genders.” By that time, a transgendered passenger might have returned to his original “gender.”

The LGBT lobby, which includes a lot of “genders,” should be cheered by the neutering or spaying of delegates in the Virginia General Assembly. When the House of Delegates reconvenes in January, says Majority Leader M. Kirkland Cox of Colonial Heights, a Republican, its members will no longer be called as “the Gentleman from Goochland” or “the Gentlewoman from Grundy,” for example, even if that’s what, to all outward appearances, they are. Instead, these worthies will become merely the “Delegate from Goochland, or Grundy,” as the case may be. Mr. Cox thinks “gentlelady” and “gentleman” are outdated, which sounds pretty ungallant for a Southern gentleman, if such is still found in the assembly.

Resistance to change has come, ironically, from Democrats, who are expected to be hip and modern, with Republicans trying to catch up with the program. Some Democrats suspect that the reason Republicans want to make the change now is to avoid confusion about what to call Danica Roem, the Gentle-Transgendered Person from Prince William County. She was once Dan and is now Danica.

Kenneth Plum, who has been a delegate from Fairfax County as a male Democrat for 18 terms, says the change of honorifics is “shameful” and “unfortunate,” and he is disappointed that the House of Delegates is unduly “singling out” his soon-to-be colleague. Confusion not only reigns in Richmond, but is officially celebrated. Alas, there’s no night train back to reality, in London, New York or elsewhere. Even if there were, “ladies and gentlemen” could probably not get a ticket.

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