Virgin Atlantic has scrapped its gendered uniform rules, meaning staff can wear whatever uniform represents them – whether that be a skirt and jacket or trouser suit.
The airline revealed the move on Twitter with the hashtag ‘See The World Differently’ and an energetic video where staff members – and a few famous faces – strut their stuff in their chosen uniform options, designed by none other than Vivienne Westwood.
The airline said the new policy “champions the individuality of Virgin Atlantic’s people by enabling them to wear the clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves”.
This follows previous changes including optional make-up, allowing all staff to wear trousers and flat shoes, and allowing visible tattoos for crew members and front line people.
Lots of people – including staff – have already praised the airline for promoting inclusivity.
Cabin crew member Jaime Forsstroem said the updated gender identity policy is “so important”.
“As a non-binary person, it allows me to be myself at work and have the choice in what uniform I wear,” they said.
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Michelle Visage, LGBTQ+ rights activist Tanya Compas, model Talulah-Eve and non-binary performer Tyreece Nye teamed up with the airline to showcase the new policy in a stylized fashion shoot.
Michelle Visage said: “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.”
Of course, there was the occasional accusation of ‘virtue-signalling’ on social media, however for the most part, the good people of Twitter thought the change was hugely positive.
Enabling people to bring their true self to work empowers them to bring their best self to work.
— Trans_Atlantic_Alison (@Pilot_Alison) September 28, 2022
I’m loving this. About time uniform reflects the statf who may wear it instead of remaining stagnant and stuck in outdated enforced gender biases. One thing that would fully put me off a flight attendant role was the fact that you were stuck with skirts etc as a woman.
— Part of the Rebel Alliance and a Traitor (@HerRoyalDykness) September 28, 2022
You literally make me so so happy thank you 🏳️⚧️🏳️⚧️🏳️⚧️
— Nicky Price (@NickyJPrice) September 28, 2022
Love this! This is why you will always be my first choice airline!
— Sophie Travers (@SuperSophT) September 28, 2022
The airline has also shared wider updates, such as the introduction of optional pronoun badges, ticketing system amends to allow for passport holders with gender neutral markers to use their gender codes and titles, and mandatory inclusivity training for staff.
Research by the company found that allowing staff to embrace their individuality at work increases mental wellbeing (49%), feelings of happiness (65%) and creates a better experience for staff and customers (24%). Yet despite this, 25% of Brits have felt pressure to hide their true selves at work.
Juha Jarvinen, Virgin Atlantic’s chief commercial officer, said of the policy change: “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.”
Joe PeplerJoe Pepler/PinPep
Virgin Atlantic crew join Michelle Visage to champion individuality with Virgin Atlantic’s updated gender identity policy, allowing its LGBTQ+ people the choice to wear the uniform that best reflects them.