Gender neutrality and gender diversity are on the rise. For instance, more and more municipalities introduce neutral toilets and gender neutral forms of address. On the train, ‘ladies and gentlemen’ has been replaced by ‘travellers’ as well. In the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, Prof Dr Rosemarie Buikema and Christine Quinan (Gender Studies) explain why this seemingly small change in addressing people has a big impact on how people interact with each other.
Not everyone feels directly at home in the category ‘male’ or ‘female’, but is somewhere else on the spectrum: intersex, queer, transgender. Still, this diversity in gender has not been integrated in the way we address each other. According to Buikema, the decision to replace ‘ladies and gentlemen’ with ‘travellers’ proves a willingness to integrate gender diversity into the daily interaction with each other: “On a train, it matters that all of you are travellers and not whether you're male or female. That then justifies the question: why do we gender all the time?”