A group of evangelical Christians has condemned a decision to replace 'ladies and gentlemen' announcements on the London Underground with gender-neutral alternatives as 'dangerous'.
Following the decision to scrap the traditional 'ladies and gentlemen' from tannoy announcements, Graham Nicholas, director of Affinity, a fellowship of Churches, evangelical agencies and individual Christians, accused the network of being both 'ridiculous and sinister'.
Nicholas said: '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.'
He added: '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.
'It is ludicrous and it spoils our enjoyment and safe navigation of the diverse world God has made and the same is true of relegating gender pronouns to a bygone era.
'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'.
Affinity spoke out after Transport for London tpld staff to use terms such as 'good morning everyone' instead of 'ladies and gentlemen' after LGBT activists appealed to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to the language used by bus and tube drivers.
Mark Evers, who heads customer strategy at TFL, said they want everyone to feel welcome on the transport network.
He told Christian Today: 'We have reviewed the language that we use in announcements and elsewhere and will make sure that it is fully inclusive, reflecting the great diversity of London.'
Last month, TFL celebrated London Pride by transforming parts of the transport network with a new rainbow design, created especially to raise awareness and show support for LGBT.