In a bid to promote gender diversity, United Airlines has become the first carrier in the US to offer non-binary gender options for passengers when they book a flight.
Customers will now have the ability to identify themselves as M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding with what is indicated on their identification or passport. and they will also have the option of choosing the title Mx.
What is Mx.?
The honorific Mx. is a gender-neutral alternative to the gendered Mr., Ms., Miss and Mrs. that most of us grew up using.
Mx., is generally pronounced as “mix,” and has grown in popularity over the past few years, as more people outwardly and openly identify as transgender, gender-nonconforming and non-binary — and have rejected the idea that only two options, male and female, exist.
United providing diversity training to staff
In a statement announcing the changes to their booking systems, United’s Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist said the airline is also providing gender equality training for staff.
“United is excited to share with our customers, whether they identify along the binary of male or female or not, that we are taking the steps to exhibit our care for them while also providing additional employee training to make us even more welcoming for all customers and employees,” he said.
The staff training includes lessons on preferred pronouns and persistence of gender norms, LGBTIQ competency in the workplace, and other steps to make the airline an inclusive company for employees and customers.
Before implementing the changes and the training initiatives, United consulted with The Trevor Project and the Human Rights Campaign.
“At the Human Rights Campaign, we believe being acknowledged as the gender you identify with is part of treating everyone with dignity and respect,” Beck Bailey, from the Workplace Equality Program said.
“By providing non-binary gender selection for ticketing and the gender-inclusive honorific ‘Mx’ in user profiles, United Airlines is taking an important step forward for non-binary inclusion.”
Inclusivity is a good thing
Miles Heffernan, Litigation Director at Discrimination Claims welcomed the changes.
“Anything that promotes inclusivity and gender diversity is a good thing for the community,” he said.
“Allowing a person to register as the gender that they identify as, and for them to be publicly acknowledged as that gender, might seem like a trivial matter, but it can make all the difference to someone who once may have felt excluded.
“People who feel included and accepted and respected are generally happier, healthier, and more productive, and that’s a good thing for society.”
The new booking options at United Airlines are now available.
Neither Qantas or Virgin have indicated that they plan to introduce similar changes to their booking systems.
Miles Heffernan is one of our specialist team at Discrimination Claims who can assist people who have experienced discrimination based on their gender identity, sex or sexuality.
If you have suffered discrimination based on your gender identity, sex, or sexuality, you may be entitled to compensation.
For help and advice, please call our specialist team at Discrimination Claims on
1300 853 837
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