As a step to recognise the trans community, two airlines – Air Vistara and AirAsia – have made a change in their booking option. They have added a third option, titled MX while booking a gender-neutral ticket.
It all began with an online petition which was started in 2020. Inderjeet Ghorpade, a member of the LGBTQIA+ group ‘YesWeExist’ started it. His friend who identifies as a non-binary, trans person, found it difficult to book an airline ticket as none of the companies offers gender-neutral titles.
In a conversation with The Hindu, Mr Ghorpade said,” Many members of the LGBTQI community prefer using the ‘MX’ title. But, I was shocked to see that the ‘MX’ option was not available while booking air tickets in India. To make air ticket booking gender-neutral, I started a petition on Change.org called Change.org/StopPinkWashing.” This is how the need for options for the trans community started.
Taking it to social media, Ghorpade talked about the issue and the cause. He also sent out emails to airlines asking them to rectify the issue and generate awareness about the trans community. Almost 33,000 people signed the petition.
According to the Transgender Protection of Rights Act 2019, transgender people should not be denied or treated unfairly. This applied to all movement access to services. Even Indian airlines do not follow the Act.
These airlines are not the first ones to have started this. Four years ago, even the Indian Railways updated their booking process and made the transgender option available.