The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) announced on Thursday that it will be adding new screening standards for transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people. The announcement was made on the 13th annual Transgender Day of Visibility.
“On this internationally recognized day for the transgender community, TSA is proud to announce significant initiatives as a direct result of close partnership with community stakeholders,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoskein a statement.. “Over the coming months, TSA will move swiftly to implement more secure and efficient screening processes that are gender-neutral, as well as technological updates that will enhance security and make TSA PreCheck® enrollment more inclusive. These combined efforts will greatly enhance airport security and screening procedures for all.”
The statement continues to go into detail on how it will reduce the number of pat-down screenings, streamlining identity validation, and making TSA PreCheck “more inclusive.
“TSA will update its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to permit less invasive screening procedures for certain passengers who trigger the AIT scanner in a sensitive area. This change will reduce pat-downs for TSOs and the traveling public without compromising security and will be in effect until the new gender-neutral AIT screening technology is deployed later this year,” the statement says.
It continues: “In February 2022, TSA updated its checkpoint SOP to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints. When travelers appear at the travel document checker podium for identity verification, gender information is irrelevant in determining that a traveler may proceed into the screening area.”
It also states: TSA is updating its TSA PreCheck program to include an “X” gender marker option on its application. Once the necessary software update is completed, applicants will have the option to select “X” as an alternative gender category. Beginning in early April 2022, TSA will allow TSA PreCheck enrollees to select their gender based on self-attestation, regardless of the gender on the person’s identification documents. Current TSA PreCheck members may change the gender associated with their account by calling (855) 347-8371 weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, and requesting help from a customer service representative. Changing a gender association in TSA PreCheck will have no effect on a member’s expedited screening when arriving at the TSA checkpoint.