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Virgin Atlantic scraps gendered uniforms giving staff option to choose how to present themselves

In addition, gender pronoun badges will be distributed to the team. Passengers can also request their badge during check-in.

Virgin Atlantic scraps gendered uniforms giving staff option to choose how to present themselves
Image Source: Virgin Atlantic Website

Uniforms are a crucial part of the work culture in many organizations. In addition to being a way to represent the company, uniforms can also be important for the safety of the workforce. However, most of the time uniforms confine people to stereotypical gender expressions and prohibit them from expressing themselves. But a little bit of thought with respect to uniforms can go a long way to make people feel included. Virgin Atlantic airlines decided to stand out and create an example about how to prioritize inclusivity, reports Bored Panda



Virgin Atlantic announced on September 26 that it is updating the organization's gender identity policy and removing the "requirement for its people to wear gendered uniform options." Previously, people were forced to wear uniforms according to their assigned gender at birth. Cabin staff, ground personnel and pilots will now be able to choose between wearing Virgin's bright red uniform, traditionally worn by women and consisting of a jacket and skirt, or the burgundy option, a blazer and pants with a tie, which is most often worn by men. 

The announcement reads, "The policy, effective today, champions the individuality of Virgin Atlantic’s people by enabling them to wear the clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves." The amended policy also made make-up optional and allowed visible tattoos for the crew and front-line people.



This decision was undertaken after research suggested that enabling employees to embrace their individuality at work boosted, "mental wellbeing (49%), feelings of happiness (65%) and creates a better experience for staff and customers (24%)." 

"Employees also reported feeling more accepted and comfortable when able to be their true selves at work (26%) and an increased sense of loyalty to their employer (21%)." the website adds. In addition, gender pronoun badges will be distributed to the team. Passengers can also request their badge during check-in. Moreover, Virgin Atlantic has also changed its ticketing systems to allow passengers with gender-neutral passports to purchase flights using the "U" or "X" gender codes, as well as the gender-neutral title, "Mx."



The airline will roll out, "mandatory inclusivity training" for its staff across Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Holidays. It will also initiate "a series of inclusivity learning initiatives for tourism partners and hotels within destinations" to make sure passengers feel safe in countries that have barriers for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Jamie Forsstroem, cabin crew at Virgin Atlantic 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." 



Several advertising videos promoting the updated policies were uploaded by the airline. One of the videos included a varied spectrum of people with various identities, each wearing the Virgin uniforms in their own unique style, and even had an appearance from RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage. 

The airline's policy doesn't just include inclusive appearances. Allowing time off work for medical treatments linked to gender transition, a choice of changing and shower facilities that "align with the gender a person identifies as" and co-creation of a "personalized transitioning plan" are among the airline's current "trans inclusion policies," according to Evening Standard



Virgin Atlantic’s Chief Commercial Officer Juha Jarvinen said, "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."

Virgin Atlantic airlines is paving the way to a more gender-inclusive future and advertising it unapologetically despite some negative feedback. Its Twitter bio 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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