Airline starts using gender-neutral terms

Japan Airlines announced on September 28 that employees will start using gender-neutral terms during in-flight and airport announcements.

Instead of leading with the common phrase, “ladies and gentlemen,” the company will start saying “passengers” or “everyone” instead. This new rule applies to English announcements because the terms are already gender-neutral in Japanese.

It’s a major step for Japan, a relatively conservative country that does not legally recognize same-sex marriage.

Starting on October 1, Japan Airlines “will abolish expressions that based on (two types of) sex and use gender-friendly expression[s]” a spokesperson told AFP.

Japan Airlines will be the first Japanese airline to experiment with the change. Air Canada adopted gender-neutral greetings in October 2019 and EasyJet, the British budget airline, followed suit in December 2019 after complaints from a transgender lecturer.

This is one of several progressive moves the airline has made in recent years. In March, Japan Airlines became the first major employer in Japan to stop forcing a dress code on female staffers. Prior, the company’s almost 6,000 female flight attendants spoke out about the discomfort of wearing skirts and high heels while working.

In 2019, Japan Airlines changed its rules to extend spouse and family allowances — such as ticket discounts and car rental deals — to include same-sex partners.

“This … was operated with the aim of making more people aware of the activities that support LGBTQ and promoting understanding of LGBTQ throughout society,” Japan Airlines said in a press release.

Enjoy reading this story? Check out this mom who had a heartwarming response to her 12-year-old son coming out.

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