Japan Airlines will stop addressing passengers as “ladies and gentlemen” in favor of gender-neutral idioms in order to be more inclusive.
From Thursday, new forms of address will be used for announcements on flights and at airports, including “Attention to all passengers” and “Good morning everyone”.
Announcements in Japanese remain loud The New York Timesas they don’t use gender specific language.
“We strive to be a company where we can create a positive atmosphere and treat everyone, including our customers, with respect,” said Mark Morimoto, airline spokesman Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We are committed not to discriminate on the basis of gender, age, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or other personal characteristics.”
Other airlines, including Air Canada and European low-cost airline EasyJet, have changed their announcements to recognize non-binary and gender-based travelers.
“As the community evolves and grows beyond the binaries to make sure everyone feels welcome, steps like Japan Airlines’ are the right ones,” Jonathan Lovitz, senior vice president of the National Chamber of Commerce for LGBT, told NBC News.
According to Lovitz, the travel industry is often at the forefront of inclusion – for customers, employees, and even suppliers.
“Greetings from their greetings, pronoun choices, and the like is not just a tried and tested practice across the industry, but an essential element of their ongoing work to ensure that everyone is welcome on board their flights at every level of operation. Said Lovitz.
Inclusivity and authentic engagement are key for any brand, including an airline, to win the economic and social loyalty of LGBTQ consumers.
In 2018 alone Global LGBTQ travelers spent $ 218 billion, according to the market research group Out Now.
Last year, Japan Airlines hosted a charter flight to bring LGBTQ travelers from Tokyo to Okinawa for the annual Pink Dot Pride celebration. The airline has been offering family benefits to LGBTQ employees since 2017. Today about a third of Japanese companies have similar measures in place.
While homosexuality is still a taboo subject, support for LGBTQ rights in Japan is advancing: Loud the Pew Research CenterJust over half of the Japanese said they accepted homosexuality in 2002. Today it is almost 70 percent. For 18 to 29 year olds it is 92 percent.
Same-sex marriages are not legally recognized in Japan, but Tokyo’s Shibuya district began issuing same-sex partnership certificates in 2015. Since then, around two dozen parishes across the country have followed.
These “Proof-of-Partnership” documents can be helpful for hospital visits and other rights, but are not legally binding.
A Pride House is slated to open in Shinjuku on October 11, National Coming Out Day, ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
The organizers are counting on “Japan’s first permanent LGBTQ center”.