United Airlines took a history-making step to make their airline the first in the United States to offer non-binary gender booking options.
Now, passengers have the option of selecting the title “Mx.” on their frequent flyer profile as well as while they book their flight. Additionally, passengers will be able to identify themselves as M (male), F (female), U (undisclosed) or X (unspecified) to correspond with their passport or identification. According to the New York Times, while the policies enabling people to identify as non-binary in their documentation is at times disjointed in its efforts, it is progressing in a more inclusive direction overall.
"United is determined to lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity, and we are so proud to be the first U.S. airline to offer these inclusive booking options for our customers," United’s Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist said in a statement. "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."
Last year, Airlines for America and the International Air Transport Association approved changes to booking procedures to allow for non-binary gender options. United is the first airline to implement the new best-practice standards.
It should be noted, like other information in your flight booking, how you choose to identify has to match your passport or other forms of ID. In 2017, Oregon was the first U.S. state to approve the inclusion of non-binary gender indicators on ID cards, passports, and drivers licenses The Guardian reported. Since then, Washington DC, New York, California, Maine, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Colorado have followed suit. Non-binary IDs are also recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations agency for air travel.
United is making these changes with the help of the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project, both of which will be helping with employee training initiatives to teach about preferred pronouns, LGBTQ+ competency in the workplace, and the persistence of gender norms in an attempt to become a more inclusive company for both customers and employees.
"The Trevor Project is grateful for United Airlines’ support of our life-saving work on behalf of LGBTQ youth," Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project, said in a statement published by United. "We are thrilled to bring Trevor’s expertise on the mental health of LGBTQ people to United to ensure its employees maintain safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ employees and guests."
The Human Rights Campaign also released a statement expressing their excitement at the change and their involvement in it. "At the Human Rights Campaign, we believe being acknowledged as the gender you identify with is part of treating everyone with dignity and respect," said Beck Bailey, the acting director of the Workplace Equality Program. "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."
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Source: Refinery29 – Sarah Midkiff