CEO slams industry colleagues after being called 'man in a dress'

CEO slams industry colleagues after being called 'man in a dress'

November 9, 2021

Non-binary recruitment company CEO slams travel industry colleagues after being labelled ‘the man in the dress’ at a trade show – saying ‘it’s not f****** okay to assume someone’s gender’

  • CEO of Lightning Travel Recruitment, Chris King, attended one of the world’s biggest travel trade shows last week in London wearing a cream dress
  • The business owner, who identifies as non-binary, said they were frequently referred to as ‘the man in the dress’ throughout the conference 
  • Slammed colleagues in the industry who chastised them for speaking out, saying they’d been branded a ‘trouble-maker’ who wanted to ‘ruffle feathers’ 

The CEO of a travel recruitment company who identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns ‘she’ and ‘they’ says they were constantly referred to as ‘the man in the dress’ at a major trade show in London last week. 

Chris King, who founded Lightning Travel Recruitment in 2019, criticised some colleagues in the travel industry on LinkedIn saying they’d been branded a ‘trouble-maker’ and ‘attention-seeker’ for highlighting the discrimination.  

King attended one of the industry’s largest travel shows, World Travel Market, held in the first week of November at ExCel, wearing a cream knee-length belted dress and black ankle boots with a front zip detail. 

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CEO of Lightning Travel Recruitment, Chris King, attended one of the world’s biggest travel trade shows last week in London wearing a cream dress – they say they were referred to frequently as ‘the man in the dress’ 

In an emotive post shared on LinkedIn, the business owner said there was some irony to the abuse they’d received, saying: ‘Imagine asking an industry that thrives by promoting diverse destinations to acknowledge and support minority groups. What a horrible ‘man in a dress’.’

Calling for better inclusivity within the travel industry, King wrote: ‘It’s not f****** okay to comment on how another person dresses, to assume their gender and to outwardly think it’s okay to call me a ‘man in the dress’. We march on.’ 

One travel industry professional denied there was a problem with inclusivity, suggesting King was ‘grandstanding’ in a move that was ‘more for attention than for actual change’. 

Responding to negative reactions in a blog on the recruitment consultant’s website, King wrote: ‘The problematic one. The one who is only highlighting things for attention. The one who is riding on others coat-tails. The one who shouldn’t point fingers. The one who is out to get everyone. The ‘man in the dress’. 

‘All of these things have been said to me directly either in person, via DM or in comments on our posts.’ 

King slammed colleagues in the industry who chastised them for speaking out, saying they’d been branded a ‘trouble-maker’ who wanted to ‘ruffle feathers’

Praise: Many commented on King’s post to thank them for speaking out on gender

King did praise some of their colleagues for a more inclusive attitude though, saying: ‘The UTTER JOY y’all brought myself and Ciarán at WTM and the various events we attended is priceless. 

‘We had conversations with diversity team leads, with senior male board members, with black industry activists, with instagram and Linkedin followers and it was truly incredible.’ 

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