Virgin Atlantic unveiled a revamped uniform policy Wednesday that will do away with gendered clothing requirements for its staff and introduce pronoun badges for crew members and customers.
The UK-based airline said that, effective immediately, all of its pilots, flight attendants and ground crew members will be given a choice to wear either of its Vivienne Westwood-designed burgundy or red uniforms featuring pants or skirts — “no matter their gender, gender identity, or gender expression.”
Virgin Atlantic said it wants to “champion the individuality” of its staffers by enabling them to wear clothing that “expresses how they identify or present themselves.”
Besides the new approach to work clothing, the carrier, which described itself as “the most inclusive airline in the world,” also rolled out optional pronoun badges for its employees and passengers.
The badges can be requested by travelers at check-in starting Wednesday.
“This move enables everyone to clearly communicate and be addressed by their pronouns,” the airline stated.
As part of its progressive new policy, Virgin Atlantic has also updated its ticketing systems to allow for those who hold passports with gender neutral gender markers to select “U” or “X” gender codes on their booking, as well as the gender-neutral title, “Mx,” instead of the traditional “Ms,” “Mr” or “Mrs.”
Currently, citizens from a small number of countries including the US, India and Pakistan, are able to hold these gender-neutral passports.
The carrier said will be conducting mandatory exclusivity training for its workers at all levels across the company, and also for its tourism partners, “to ensure all our customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality.”
Jamie Forsstroem, Cabin Crew at Virgin Atlantic commented: “The updated gender identity policy is so important to me. As a non-binary person, it allows me to be myself at work and have the choice in what uniform I wear.”
These latest changes, which are part of the carrier’s ” ongoing Be Yourself” campaign, follow a series of initiatives that were unveiled back in 2019, offering female cabin crew the choice to use make-up and the option to wear pants and flat shoes on the job.
More recently, the airline lifted restrictions on displaying tattoos at work.
The airline has recruited a group of TV personalities and social media influencers, led by RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, to promote its non-gendered uniform policy.
“As the mother of a non-binary child, and as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community, these efforts by Virgin Atlantic to further inclusivity for its people are extremely important and personal to me,” Visage said in a statement. “People feel empowered when they are wearing what best represents them, and this gender identity policy allows people to embrace who they are and bring their full selves to work.”
Visage, non-binary TikTok star Tyreece Nye and LGBTQ+ activist Tanya Compas appeared in a video produced by Virgin Atlantic showcasing the airline’s new, non-gendered approach to uniforms.
“This policy allows everyone to have a seat at the table,” Nye said. “It’s not taking away from anyone, it’s just allowing everyone from the community to just have a voice.”