“Wokeness” is now flying the friendly skies, as Alaska Airlines, for whatever reason, chose to release gender-neutral uniforms. Airline employees will also have the option to wear personal pronoun pins on their uniforms as well.
Alaska Airlines said the pins and gender-neutral uniform “kits” are relaxing restrictions and grooming based on assumed gender. The “kits” will reflect fit rather than gender identity.
The airline in a statement, said the policy change was representative of its commitment to “provide more freedom and flexibility in individual and gender expression.” The names of the airline’s uniform kits — such as “stewardess” — will also be altered to focus on fit rather than gender identity, and employees now have the option to wear personal pronoun pins with their uniform to ensure they are not misgendered, the airline said.
“I know firsthand what it feels like not to be seen, heard or able to bring your authentic self to work,” James Thomas, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at Alaska Airlines, said in a news release announcing the policy update. “When I’ve experienced this, it didn’t feel great and honestly made it hard to come to work every day during those times, or to deliver my best work. Our employees, guests and communities we serve have my commitment we are going to keep listening and pushing ourselves to be better.”
The airline’s announcement comes roughly nine months after it was accused of discriminating against nonbinary and gender-nonconforming employees.
Prior to the policy shift, flight attendants at Alaska Airlines were required to adhere to a rigid set of “male” and “female” dress and grooming standards, which regulated things like hairstyle, makeup and jewelry.
In a June letter to the airline, the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) of Washington, where the airline is headquartered, said the policy violated state nondiscrimination law, as well as Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“These rigid, binary uniform requirements are more than a mere inconvenience,” the ACLU wrote in its letter, which was sent on behalf of Alaska Airlines employee Justin Wetherell, who is nonbinary. “By forcing our client and countless other employees to adhere to Alaska Airlines’ preferred vision of how men and women should appear, the uniform policy demeans employees who do not conform to gender stereotypes and materially interferes with their ability to do their jobs under equal terms and conditions as other employees.”
In response to the ACLU’s letter, Alaska Airlines in a statement in June said employees since 2020 had the freedom to order “any pant or parka style and have been able to select the uniform kit of their choice, regardless of gender identity.”
“Alaska Airlines has been a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. We have been a leader in the industry when it comes to inclusivity in our uniform and grooming standards, which have been informed by our employees and developed in accordance with federal and state laws,” the airline said at the time.