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Image: United Airlines

United is first with non-binary gender option

The US airline now allows passengers to make bookings with the gender option X, for those who do not identify as male or female.

United Airlines has become the world’s first carrier to offer the choice of a non-binary gender for passengers booking flights, the newspaper The Guardian reports.

Customers can go for M (male), F (female), U (undisclosed) or X (unspecified), which corresponds with the gender-neutral passports that are now issued by a number of states in the USA.

The International Air Transport Association and Airlines for America, trade bodies that represent the biggest airlines, have already approved changes to booking systems for the inclusion of non binary gender options.

But United is the first airline to adopt the new set of best-practice standards.

In addition, a dropdown menu of titles next to fields for the passengers’ names now includes Mx.

Staff training
With advice from advocacy groups such as Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project, United says it is training employees on issues like preferred pronouns, LGBT competency in the workplace “and other steps to make United an inclusive space for both customers and employees”.

“United is determined to lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity, and we are so proud to be the first US airline to offer these inclusive booking options for our customers,” said the airline’s chief customer officer Toby Enqvist.

Beck Bailey, acting director of the workplace equality programme at Human Rights Campaign, added: “Being acknowledged as the gender you identify with is part of treating everyone with dignity and respect.”

Gender options
Carriers such as Air New Zealand, Lufthansa Group’s airlines and British Airways are also exploring non-binary gender options, The Guardian writes.

Oregon was the first US state to bring in gender-neutral ID documents in 2017, followed by Washington, New York, California, Maine, Minnesota, Arkansas and Colorado.

Citizens of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and Nepal can also obtain gender-neutral travel documents, while Germany and Austria have approved intersex as a third gender recognised under law for official documents.

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