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Virgin Atlantic Scraps Gendered Uniform To Promote Inclusivity, Sparks Outrage

LGBTQ+

Virgin Atlantic Scraps Gendered Uniform To Promote Inclusivity, Sparks Outrage

Passengers of Virgin Atlantic with gender-neutral passports can choose between “U,” “X,” or “Mx.”

Virgin Atlantic has updated its uniform policy, scrapping gendered uniforms to drive inclusivity. It emerged after research showed that permitting staff to embrace their individuality at work increased mental well-being and happiness and created a better experience for staff and customers. Employees also reported feeling accepted and an increased sense of loyalty to their employer. 

Staff, including cabin crew, ground teams, and pilots, will now be able to decide if they want to wear Virgin’s bright red uniform – traditionally worn by women or the burgundy option previously worn by male flight attendants. 

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The updated uniform policy allows men to wear skirts and women to wear trousers. The airline is also introducing pronoun badges to enable staff to wear uniforms that express their true identity. The company, as per The DailyMail, claimed the change makes it the most inclusive airline in the skies, and its employees are among those who have praised the changes on social media. 

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Accordingly, Virgin has updated its ticketing system so that passengers with gender-neutral passports can choose between “U,” “X,” or “Mx.” 

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Citizens from countries, including the US, India, and Pakistan, hold gender-neutral passports. “Our Vivienne Westwood uniforms were designed in 2014 and have been proudly worn by our crew, pilots, and ground teams ever since. This update allows our people to choose which of these uniforms best represents them, no matter their gender, gender identity, or gender expression,” the airline wrote on Twitter. 

Several campaign videos are posted to promote the latest policies, including a cameo from RuPaul’s Drag Race Judge, Michelle Visage. 

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The airline teamed up with Visage to reflect the diversity of its workforce and offer its people a fluid approach to its red and burgundy uniforms. The Judge wrote in a statement“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.”

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“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.” 

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Visage asked as they concluded: “If we are clean and we are pressed, and we are looking the way we’re supposed to look, then why aren’t we able to present as we identify?” Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, Juha Jarvinen, stressed that the airline believes everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are, and it was vital they enabled people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves.  

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Juha added: “it is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear a uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.” 

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Alison Porte, Virgin Atlantic’s first officer, emphasized it’s not about canceling people, it’s not about removing women or men but about more inclusive language. A cabin crew member, Jaime Forsstroem, expressed their joy at the updated policy, telling ITV that the gender identity policy will allow them to be themselves and have the choice in what uniform they wear. 

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“This policy allows everyone a seat at the table,” Tyreece Nye, a non-binary performer and activist, said in one of the promotional videos. 

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Aside from the outward appearances, Virgin Atlantic, as per BoredPanda, said that mandatory inclusivity training would be rolled out across its workforce and Virgin Atlantic Holidays, in which there will also be inclusivity learning initiatives for tourism partners & hotels in destinations including the Caribbean. Notably, this is to ensure all their customers feel welcomed. 

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As of now, the Virgin Atlantic bio on Twitter reads: “We’ve always championed individuality. Here’s to those that were born to fly. Those who see the world differently.” 

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The Evening Standard reports the airline existing Trans inclusion policies include allowing time off work for medical treatments related to gender transition, among others. However, reaction to the new policies has been mixed online, with some praising the company’s actions while others claim it was a waste of time. Others questioned why the company doesn’t give its staff a pay rise or lower ticket prices. 

Here’s How People Reacted To The Updated Policy: 

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