Airline Jetstar has raised conservative eyebrows by asking customers completing a survey to record their gender as male, female or X (for intersex/indeterminate/unspecified).
While some people have been upset about the perceived “political correctness” of offering a non-binary gender option, a Jetstar spokesperson said the airline is simply following government guidelines, The Australian has reported.
“Questions like this are standard across research surveys across Australia and are not unique to Jetstar.”
Jetstar Australia does not require customers to nominate their gender when booking flights, only to nominate a title, with options of Mr, Ms, Miss, Mrs, Captain, Doctor, Professor and Reverend.
The airline does not at present offer a gender-neutral title option such as Mx, and the spokesperson did not comment on whether it might in the future.
Social media users have been divided in their reactions to Jetstar’s more inclusive gender options in the customer service survey, with some slamming it as unnecessary or wrong.
“There are two genders, stop encouraging this anti-biology garbage,” tweeted one person.
Another claimed they would no longer fly with Jetstar over the issue, posting, “I have just written ‘X’ over Jetstar in my list of preferred airlines.”
Others have welcomed the move towards better inclusivity.
“Anyone who’s paying attention has always known there’s more than two genders—thanks Jetstar!” wrote one intersex and non-binary person.
The controversy follows criticism of parent airline Qantas earlier this year for introducing guidelines suggesting gender-neutral language.
People who are intersex or of “indeterminate sex” are able to have an Australian passport showing them as X rather than male or female, though The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cautions that these passports may not be accepted in all other countries.
— Daffy Duck (@daffycommando) June 20, 2018
Well, I have just written ‘X’ over Jetstar in my list of preferred airlines. Corporate executives must learn that a service industry cannot afford to chose minority over the majority. @JetstarAirways @Jetstar_Asia @JetstarNews
— Trek (@bacchushill) June 18, 2018
— Hida Viloria (@HidaViloria) June 20, 2018