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Virgin Atlantic Scraps Gendered Uniforms To Drive Inclusivity, Dividing Opinions Online
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Fashion, Good News4 months ago

Virgin Atlantic Scraps Gendered Uniforms To Drive Inclusivity, Dividing Opinions Online

Most of us will have to work for at least one day in our lives. A somewhat smaller number of us will be required to wear a specific work uniform, either to represent the company or to keep ourselves safe. Imagine construction workers or police officers working in their everyday clothes; things might get messy.

However, your identity and ability for self-expression shouldn’t be compromised in the meantime. What if you identify as a man, but are forced to wear a dress or skirt, which doesn’t represent you in the slightest? What if you hate the thought of shoving your delicate feet into uncomfortable heels and then having to stand for hours? What if you actually prefer to wear heels but are unable to because it’s not part of the ‘men’s’ uniform? Company policy, you know!

Whelp, it’s time for a change! And becoming an example of such change is Virgin Atlantic, which has recently prioritized inclusivity in an updated uniform policy, completely scrapping gendered uniforms and allowing staff to wear clothing that represents them and their true identity. Not surprisingly, this has divided the internet. Let’s get into the details!

More info: Twitter | Virgin Atlantic Press Release

Virgin Atlantic will be giving its crew a choice in uniform, allowing staff to wear clothing that represents their true identity

Image credits: virginatlantic

Virgin Atlantic announced on September 26 that they will be giving their crew a choice of what uniform to wear in an update to their gender identity policy, which previously required the crew to wear a specific uniform based on their gender.

Cabin crew, ground teams, and pilots will now be able to decide whether they want to wear Virgin’s bright red uniform—traditionally worn by women, consisting of a jacket and skirt—or the burgundy option—a blazer and trousers with a tie, most commonly worn by men.

Cabin crew, ground teams, and pilots will now be able to decide whether they want to wear red or burgundy, a jacket or blazer, a skirt or trousers, regardless of gender

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

It comes following the result of research findings that show that allowing staff to embrace their individuality at work increased mental well-being (49%) and feelings of happiness (65%), and created 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%).

In addition to that, the crew will be provided with gender pronoun badges. Passengers will also be able to request their preferred badge at check-in

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

The first changes towards inclusivity happened back in 2019 when Virgin removed its policy requiring female staff to wear makeup and began providing them with trousers in addition to skirts.

Now staff members will be able to choose to wear skirts or trousers, regardless of how they identify, allowing for non-binary staff members to better choose what best represents them.

Virgin has updated its ticketing system so that flyers with gender-neutral passports are able to choose between “U”, “X”, or “Mx”

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

But that’s not all. The crew will also be provided with gender pronoun badges. Passengers will also be able to request their preferred badge at check-in. Virgin has updated their ticketing system so that those holding passports with gender-neutral pronouns feel included—these flyers will be able to choose between “U”, “X”, or “Mx”.

Currently, citizens from a small number of countries, including the US, India and Pakistan, are able to hold these gender-neutral passports.

Research showed that allowing staff to embrace their individuality at work increased mental well-being and created a better experience for staff and customers

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

The airline’s comment on the video posted on Twitter read: “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.”

Virgin Atlantic may be the first airline to bring about such an inclusive policy; however, they aren’t the first ones to change up the dress code. In Canada, the airline WestJet is bringing in a wind of change by allowing its flight attendants to wear more gender-neutral and inclusive uniforms.

In addition to that, SkyUp Airlines transformed their female uniforms back in 2021, exchanging suits with skirts to trouser suits and trench coats, and heels for comfortable Nike sneakers. So it seems the trend is becoming more comfortable and inclusive for staff and we love to see it!

“This gender identity policy allows people to embrace who they are and bring their full selves to work,” said RuPaul’s Drag Race judge, Michelle Visage

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

The airline posted several campaign videos promoting the latest policies. The short clip posted on Twitter showed a diverse range of people with various identities all sporting the Virgin uniforms in their own way, even including a cameo from RuPaul’s Drag Race judge, Michelle Visage.

“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,” Visage said in a statement. “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.”

“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?” asked Visage.

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, Juha Jarvinen, stated: “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,” Juha added.

“It’s not about canceling people, it’s not about removing women or removing men. It’s about more inclusive language,” said Alison Porte, Virgin Atlantic’s first officer

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

One cabin crew member, Jaime Forsstroem, expressed their happiness at the updated policy, telling ITV: “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.”

“This policy allows everyone a seat at the table,” Tyreece Nye, a non-binary performer and activist, said in one of the promotional videos. “It’s just allowing everyone from the community to just have a voice.” “It’s not about canceling people, it’s not about removing women or removing men. It’s just about more inclusive language,” said Alison Porte, Virgin Atlantic’s first officer.

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

It seems that the policies aren’t just focusing on outward appearances. The Evening Standard reports that the airline’s existing “trans inclusion policies” include allowing time off work for medical treatments related 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.”

In a statement by Virgin Atlantic, it was said that mandatory inclusivity training will be rolled out across the workforce at the airline and Virgin Atlantic Holidays, in which there will also be “inclusivity learning initiatives” for tourism partners and hotels in destinations such as the Caribbean. This is to ensure all their customers feel welcomed despite the present-day barriers to LGBTQ+ equality.

Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, Juha Jarvinen, stated: “At Virgin Atlantic, we believe that everyone can take on the world, no matter who they are”

Image credits: Virgin Atlantic

The Virgin Atlantic Twitter account’s bio reads: “We’ve always championed individuality. Here’s to those that were born to fly. Those who see the world differently.” Virgin Atlantic may be well on its way to becoming “the most inclusive airline in the skies.”

And to all those who decide not to understand, choosing rather to judge or diminish the importance of such a move, there’s a simple choice—don’t fly with Virgin! I’m sure they don’t want your 1900s idyllic nostalgia-based worldview either.

You can watch their iconic promo video here

Many people believe that this is a fantastic idea, yet others have reservations about it. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Don’t forget to upvote and follow the author, because you’re fabulous, and I wish you a fantastic day!

Although this move has garnered lots of praise, it’s also received criticism. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments section!

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Monday
Community Member
4 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This has the added benefit of keeping the less pleasant folks away from the airline. Two birds with one stone! I have to laugh at MrsBain though....I didn't realize being a she was now a sexuality! If you're going to be offended at least check what you're offended at!

Aunt Riarch
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've always found the traditional women's uniforms more "flaunting" if anything. Glad to see that people are able to be comfortable now.

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S
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd LOVE to fly on an airline where the bigots have been weeded out due to the inclusive AND STILL VERY PROFESSIONAL* dress code :)

Andrew
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Props to Virgin. Someone's choice of expression does not affect me, therefore I don't care or have an opinion. Let people be comfortable with who they are

ItsJess
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I agree with the guy who said he doesn't care what the pilot is wearing as long as they fly the plane where it needs to go safely and on time.

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Monday
Community Member
4 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This has the added benefit of keeping the less pleasant folks away from the airline. Two birds with one stone! I have to laugh at MrsBain though....I didn't realize being a she was now a sexuality! If you're going to be offended at least check what you're offended at!

Aunt Riarch
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've always found the traditional women's uniforms more "flaunting" if anything. Glad to see that people are able to be comfortable now.

Load More Replies...
S
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd LOVE to fly on an airline where the bigots have been weeded out due to the inclusive AND STILL VERY PROFESSIONAL* dress code :)

Andrew
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Props to Virgin. Someone's choice of expression does not affect me, therefore I don't care or have an opinion. Let people be comfortable with who they are

ItsJess
Community Member
4 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I agree with the guy who said he doesn't care what the pilot is wearing as long as they fly the plane where it needs to go safely and on time.

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