Virgin Atlantic has ditched its traditional uniform requirements to allow staff to express their gender identity.
From today all workers and customers will also be allowed to wear badges announcing their pronouns and passengers can add gender neutral markers to their tickets, reports the Mirror.
Crew, pilots and ground teams can wear uniforms designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood which "best represents them – no matter their gender, gender identity, or gender expression", the company has announced.
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Virgin says that the move reflects the diversity of the workforce" and "cements its position as the most inclusive airline in the skies."
Jaime Forsstroem, a member of cabin crew at the company, said: “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.”
Staff will be allowed to wear either red or burgundy uniforms so LGBTQ+ workers can dress in a way which best reflects themselves.
Badges with pronoun markers will be freely available at the check in desk and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse from today.
In a press release today, the company announced that it has 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’.
Currently citizens from a small number of countries including the USA, India and Pakistan, are able to hold these passports, and travellers must travel on the codes that match their passport.
"In lieu of passports with gender neutral gender markers being available for all, Virgin Atlantic is implementing a longer-term plan to amend communication preferences to ensure customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns across all touchpoints," the statement reads.
All staff working at Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Holidays must take part in inclusivity training, with hotel partners required to complete a series of "inclusivity learning initiatives to ensure all our customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality."
The move comes three years after Virgin Atlantic offered cabin crew the chance to choose whether to wear make-up, trousers and flat shoes.
More recently the airline lifted restrictions around allowing visible tattoos for crew members and its front line people.
Fashion icons Michelle Visage, Tanya Compas, Talulah-Eve and Tyreece Nye showcased aspects of the new policy in a fashion shoot released alongside the announcement.
Michelle said: “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.
"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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Virgin Atlantic also offers time off for medical treatments related to gender transition, personal choice of changing and shower facilities that align with the gender a person identifies as, and co-creation of a personalised transitioning plan, for trans members of staff.
Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer says, “At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are.
"That’s why it’s so important that we enable our people to embrace their individuality and be their true selves at work.
"It is for that reason that we want to allow our people to wear the uniform that best suits them and how they identify and ensure our customers are addressed by their preferred pronouns.”
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