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’

  • Chris King, CEO of Lightning Travel Recruitment attended the London Travel Trade Show last week wearing a cream gown
  • Non-binary business owner said that they were often called ‘the man wearing the gown’ during the conference 
  • Others in the business criticized them and called them trouble-makers for speaking up. They claimed they wanted to upset feathers by being labelled. 

A CEO of a company that specializes in travel recruitment, who is non-binary but uses the pronouns “she” and “they”, says that they are constantly called “the man in the gown” at major London trade shows. 

Chris King founded Lightning Travel Recruitment, in 2019. He criticized some of his colleagues on LinkedIn for being labelled a “troublemaker” and an “attention seeker” because they highlighted discrimination.  

King attended World Travel Market in November, one of the most important trade shows for the travel industry. She wore a cream-colored belted gown and black ankle boots, with a front zipper 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'

Chris King (CEO of Lightning Travel Recruitment) attended last week’s largest travel show in London in a cream-colored dress. They claim they are often called “the man in the gown” by people who see them as the man in the white dress. 

The business owner shared an emotive LinkedIn post in which he claimed that there was an irony to their abuse. He said: “Imagine asking an industry that flourishes by supporting diverse destinations to recognize and support minorities. It was a shameful’man dressed in a suit’.

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 continue to march. 

Unsolicited evidence suggested that King’s grandstanding was more for attention than actual change. 

King responded to the negative comments in a blog posted by a recruitment consultant. He wrote, “The problem one.” One who only highlights things to get attention. One who rides on the coattails of others. The one that shouldn’t be pointing fingers. One who wants everyone to lose. The “man in the suit”. 

‘All these things were said directly to me either in person or via DM, as well as 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'

King attacked colleagues within the industry, blaming them for speaking up and saying that they had been called trouble-makers who wanted to upset feathers.

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

Praise: Many people commented on King’s post to give them their appreciation for speaking out about 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 spoke with the diversity team leaders, senior male board members and black industry activists with instagram followers and Linkedin fans and it was absolutely amazing.