Major corporate UK Pride sponsors fail to give non-binary people even the most basic recognition

Pride non-binary

Major corporate sponsors of the three biggest Pride festivals in the UK fail to give even the most basic recognition to non-binary people, it has been revealed.

Virgin Atlantic, Heart Radio, BT and Transport for London (TfL) are all major Pride sponsors – but none of them allow people to identify as non-binary on online sign-up forms, HuffPost reports.

Most companies ask people for their gender when making purchases or signing up for mailing list – and a significant number still only offer “male” and “female” options.

Some major corporate Pride sponsors require that people use “male” or “female”, while others also offer “other” or “unspecified” – terms many non-binary people feel are dehumanising.

Virgin Atlantic, Manchester Pride’s headline sponsor, requires people to register as “male” or “female” to join their Flying Club.

This is despite the fact that the company claims in a blog post on the Manchester Pride website that they are “staunch supporters of LGBT+ rights”.

The organisation said in a statement that they are working on changes to their systems that would allow non-binary people to correctly identify.

These changes were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with people behind it being furloughed, a Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said.

Requiring non-binary people to identify as ‘unspecified’ or ‘other’ is dehumanising.

Elsewhere, Heart Radio requires people to identify as “male”, “female” or “unspecified”. The company was criticised by Lui Asquith, head of policy at trans youth charity Mermaids, who said forcing non-binary people to identify as “unspecified” makes them give “incorrect” information.

BT, a sponsor of Pride in London, also does not allow non-binary or gender non-conforming people to correctly identify. The company said it is working on new “inclusive” customer forms “as a priority”.

Transport for London, meanwhile, lists a series of titles which includes “other” along with Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms, Dr and Prof.

Staynton Brown, director of diversity, inclusion and talent at TfL, said the company will update forms on its website that does not allow non-binary people to correctly identify.

This isn’t the only way non-binary people’s identities are not recognised – the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) also requires trans people to identify as either male or female.

Under the 2004 Act, non-binary and gender non-conforming people are unable to obtain legal gender recognition.