Virgin Atlantic released an update to their gender identity policy that will allow their flight and ground crews to choose the uniform that best expresses their gender identity.
The British airline removed the requirement for employees to sport the uniform that correlated to their biological gender on Wednesday, and will now allow staff to “wear the clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves.”
To cement the Sir Richard Branson founded air passenger carrier’s “position as the most inclusive airline in the skies,” gate agents and flight crews will be allowed to select which of the Vivienne Westwood designed uniforms “best represents them – no matter their gender, gender identity, or gender expression.”
Historically, women’s female staffers wore a bright red blazer, skirt and high heel combo, while male employees rocked deep burgundy three-piece suits, and pilots donned an all-black suit with a captain’s cap.
The new policy will allow male flight attendants and pilots to wear the iconic red skirts, while female crew can dress in the burgundy suits as part of the airlines’ “on-going drive to champion the individuality of its people.”
The changes come on the heels of Virgin Atlantic’s 2019 policy changes, which allowed visible tattoos for crew members, the option for female staffers to wear flats and pants, and a gender-neutral make up policy.
The airline included their customers in the policy update, with mandatory inclusivity training at all levels of the company rolled out to “ensure all our customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality.”
They also concurrently released optional pronoun badges that will enable “everyone to clearly communicate and be addressed by their pronouns,” and be available upon request at the check in desk.
Virgin Atlantic updated their ticketing systems to allow for passport holders with gender neutral markers to select “X,” meaning unspecified, and “U,” referring to undisclosed. Booking’s will designate those who select either marker as the gender neutral title “Mx.”
The 38-year-old airline certainly isn’t the first to provide non-binary gender options on tickets, American Airlines, United, and Delta have allowed passengers to select “U” and “X” as their preferred pronouns since 2019.
Michelle Visage, a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star, is spearheading Virgin Atlantic’s publicity campaign surrounding the policy update.
“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,” she said.
“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 continued.