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Virgin Atlantic changes to gender-neutral uniform policy

Virgin Atlantic launches its new gender-neutral uniform policy that allows pilots, cabin crews and ground staff to wear whichever uniform suits their identity. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic launches its new gender-neutral uniform policy that allows pilots, cabin crews and ground staff to wear whichever uniform suits their identity. Photo courtesy of Virgin Atlantic

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Virgin Atlantic is changing up its uniform policy to allow the airline's pilots, cabin crew and ground staff to wear whichever uniforms, the red skirt or burgundy trousers, that suit their identity.

Virgin Atlantic announced Wednesday the airline's staff uniforms, created by British designer Vivienne Westwood, will no longer be categorized as "male" or "female."

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The British-based airline also announced employees and passengers can wear optional pronoun badges. Customers can ask for their preferred badge at the check in desk or in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

"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," Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer, said in a statement.

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"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," Jarvinen said.

Wednesday's announcement is the latest from the airline's "Be Yourself" campaign, as Virgin Atlantic works to cement its position as the "most inclusive airline in the skies."

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In 2019, Virgin Atlantic announced it would allow cabin crews to choose to go make-up free and wear trousers or flat shoes. In June, the airline lifted restrictions allowing crew members to show tattoos while on duty.

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Virgin Atlantic said the change in uniform policy reflects the diversity of its workforce and will allow its LGBTQ+ colleagues to wear whichever uniform best represents them "no matter their gender, gender identity or gender expression."

"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," said Jamie Forsstroem, cabin crew member at Virgin Atlantic.

The airline said its latest policy is based on research that finds allowing employees to express their true selves at work boosts happiness by 65% and increases mental well-being by 49%.

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In addition to the airline's new uniform change, Virgin Atlantic announced it has updated its ticketing systems to allow for those who hold passports with gender neutral markers to select "U" or "X" gender codes on their booking, along with the gender-neutral title "Mx."

Virgin Atlantic is planning mandatory company-wide inclusivity training to "ensure all customers feel welcome despite barriers to LGBTQ+ equality," the airline said.

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