In March 2022, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would implement measures to implement gender-neutral screening by improving screening technology, reducing the number of scans required, streamlining identity verification, updating TSA PreCheck, and expanding partnerships with airlines to improve it the overall travel experience and improving communication with the traveling public.
To date, TSA has implemented the following:
- The TSA PreCheck application allows non-binary and gender-nonconforming Americans to select gender based on self-attestation, regardless of gender assigned at birth. Those who are already PreCheck members can update gender information by calling the program at (855) 347-8371 between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. EDT weekdays. There is no need to update the gender on other IDs as long as the name, known travel number and date of birth on the reservation match the TSA record.
- TSA is working with domestic airlines to promote the use and acceptance of the “X” gender identifier. TSA recommends making reservations with the same gender identifier as that on a traveler’s government-issued ID. If the mark on the traveler’s government issued ID is not offered in the airline’s system, contact the airline. In 2016, Oregon became the first state to endorse non-binary gender choice in the United States. Today, 22 states and the District of Columbia allow an “X” gender marker on a driver’s license. In addition, the gender “X” is available on US passports.
- Gender information will not be taken into account when a traveler appears at the travel document control podium for identity verification, but the name on the identity documents should match the boarding pass.
- All baggage must be x-rayed. For carry-on baggage, individuals must notify the TSA officer if they have medically necessary liquids, medications, medical devices such as syringes or liquid medications, or prosthetics. These should be separated from other items before screening. If the bag needs to be opened, you can ask for it to be opened privately.
- TSA uses Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), a walk-in metal detector or scanning method. AIT still relies on gender-based algorithms that designate only male or female, and the officer chooses the gender based on the officer’s assessment of how the person presents. TSA is in the process of implementing a gender-neutral AIT algorithm. It is in the testing phase and TSA expects to implement the new technology by the end of this year.
- If an alarm occurs during screening, additional screening, including a sweep, may be required. Scans are generally conducted by officers of the same sex as the traveler, as determined by the officer, again based on visual assessment. Individuals can inform the officer of their gender identity and request an officer of that gender. However, non-binary officers may not even be available upon request. Patdowns, such as baggage screening, can be conducted in the controlled area, or a private area can be requested.
- In terms of communications, any individual who believes they have experienced an improper screening process can ask to speak to a supervisor at the checkpoint and can also raise their concerns with the TSA Contact Center.