Image courtesy of Janson_G from Pixabay
In case you didn’t notice: Christmas saw a new policy at American Airlines: Customers wanting to be shot across the sky in a hollow metal tube could finally simultaneously be affirmed in their non-binary gender identity.
Are you a U? Or someone’s X? AA Flies So You Can Soar. Thanks to the change, in addition to the ol’ Male and Female, passengers can now register as either of those letters.
As reported by USA Today December 20th, the option was available only by phone, but would soon be offered on the company website. A look on February 24th, however, turned up no such option. If you want to be treated with dignity, you’re gonna have to pick up the phone.
At the time of the article, here’s what airline spokesman Ross Feinstein had to say:
“Taking care of our customers and team members is what we do, and we are glad to be able to better accommodate the gender preferences of our travelers and team members.”
But American is late to the party — United beat ’em to the punch. On March 22nd, the “Fly the Friendly Skies” company cut the rainbow ribbon via 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.
USAT explained at the time:
The airline has worked with LGBTQ organizations The Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project on training employees in conjunction with these updates. Such training includes the use of preferred pronouns.
“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,” Beck Bailey, acting director of the Workplace Equality Program at the Human Rights Campaign, added in the same statement.
Fly how you identify. Our new non-binary gender options are now available.
— United Airlines (@united) March 22, 2019
At the time of American’s announcement, if any bookers had previously registered as male or female but didn’t feel good about it, an amendment was eminently possible.
From The Hill:
Travelers currently have to call the airline to choose the non-binary options, but the new choices will be available on their website soon, USA Today reported. Travelers can also call to update existing reservations with the new gender options.
And if you’re upset by the limitation of just two airlines, you’ll be glad to know your options are sure to broaden. In their coverage of American’s provision, USA Today said it’s all on the way:
The nation’s five biggest U.S. airlines – American, Delta, United, Southwest and Alaska airlines – all previously told USA Today that they plan to implement the trade groups’ suggestion.
Delta spokesperson Kate Modolo told USA Today in a statement: “As part of Delta’s ongoing efforts to reflect inclusivity and respond to the needs of our diverse customer population, we are planning to offer a non-binary gender option during the booking process.” The statement reflects what the airline told USA Today in February.
“The appropriate teams at Alaska are working to finalize our plans and still determining when this capability will be available to our guests,” spokesperson Ray Lane told USA Today, adding that the company is “committed to providing non-binary gender options for our guests when booking and traveling.”
So there ya go — be yourself and no one else.
However, at least with American, there’s a catch. So states LGBTQ Nation:
Passengers must carry a passport or other identity document that has a gender marker other than “M” or “F.”
Does this make a difference? It seems to me that you are (not) what you are (not), regardless of what your booking says. In my opinion, if you’re looking to a giant corporation’s registry for validation that you’re neither female nor male — or for confirmation of anything else at all — your eyeballs are on the wrong thing.
But maybe I’m wrong, and news of the two more options makes this your special day, mister.
I mean, Mx.
Enjoy Ur neXt flight.
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