Deutsche Bahn rolls out gender-neutral uniform policy

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Deutsche Bahn rolls out gender-neutral uniform policy
Regional trains passing through Berlin will see big disruptions in May due to maintenance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Matthey

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn has lifted strict gender-based rules for staff uniforms to allow employees to mix and match traditional outfits according to their identity.


The company's CEO Richard Lutz said in a post on LinkedIn on Wednesday the 45,000 on-board and railway station personnel would have the freedom to select from official skirts, trousers and jackets at will while working.

"DB employees can now wear the clothing in which they feel most comfortable," he said, hailing the policy update as appropriate for a "diverse" company following staff requests to loosen the rules.

Norbert Nirschl, head of the "railbow" network of LGBTQ employees, welcomed the move to allow staff to choose their professional look "completely independent of their sex or gender identity".

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In the 187 years of German rail service, several uniform changes had been introduced as times and fashions changed, Nirschl said, but the company had never shaken up its designations of "male" and "female" collections.

"That's the end of that!" Nirschl said. "As railbow we are proud of our employer Deutsche Bahn that it is allowing all its employees the chance to evolve freely."

Deutsche Bahn joins transport companies including Alaska Airlines and Virgin Atlantic this year in rolling out gender-neutral uniform guidelines.

The German state-run company, which is facing a massive infrastructure improvement drive, was ordered by a court in June to modernise its customer service in light of changing identity norms.

The Frankfurt regional superior court said DB from next year would need to offer a gender-neutral interface, deeming the current binary choice of "Mr" or "Ms" to be discriminatory.



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