Virgin Atlantic drops uniform gender policy for flight crew

Virgin Atlantic flight attendants, pilots and ground workers no longer have to choose gender-specific uniform options, the British airline announcement Wednesday.

From now on, employees will be able to “wear clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves”. The airline has also started offering optional pronoun badges for staff members and customers, and updated its ticketing system to better accommodate people who have selected gender-neutral options on their passports.

“At Virgin Atlantic, we believe everyone can conquer the world, no matter who they are,” Juha Jarvinen, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said in a statement. statement. “That’s why it’s so important that we allow our employees to embrace their individuality and be themselves at work. It is for this reason that we want to allow our employees to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure that our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.

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Virgin has announced the updated gender identity policy with videos which featured LGBTQ activists and supporters — including judge Michelle Visage of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — as well as employees who identify as members of the community.

The carrier said that as part of its “Be Yourself” program, it has already made makeup optional, given women the option to wear flats and allowed crew members and other front-line workers to have visible tattoos. Women were already allowed to wear pants.

“The ‘Be Yourself’ campaign means absolutely everything to me: I can be myself, a non-binary person,” cabin crew member Jamie Forsstrom said in a video. “I have a choice of uniform, which is an extremely important thing.”

Virgin said it would also make inclusivity training mandatory across the airline and launch “inclusivity learning initiatives” for hotels and other partners in destinations such as the Caribbean “to ensure that all of our customers feel welcome despite the barriers to LGBTQ+ equality.”

A handful of airlines have announced that they are relaxing gender stereotypes in dress codes or launching without gendered uniforms.

Icelandic low cost airline said its uniforms are not gender-specific, there are no instructions on makeup, tattoos, or nail polish, and comfortable cabin crew sneakers are standard. WestJet from Canada said it updated its uniform policy “to free itself from gender norms” in 2017.

Alaska Airlines said in March, it was developing gender-neutral uniforms for flight attendants, customer service agents and lounge employees. The carrier also said all employees could wear nail polish, makeup, two earrings in each ear and a nose piercing, and introduced pronoun pins for workers.

The announcement followed a complaint by a non-binary employee that the airline required flight attendants to adhere to gender-specific dress and grooming standards by choosing male or female uniforms.

According Reutersthe Washington State Commission on Human Rights recently said there was a reasonable basis to conclude that the airline violated state law by refusing to exempt the flight attendant from the Politics.

“This is an important step in the pursuit of more inclusive travel, and there is still work to be done,” Alaska Airlines said in its statement. statement in March. “We will continue to review our policies, programs and practices to ensure we are living our values ​​and creating a place where everyone belongs.”

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