Starting on April 11, people with a passport from the United States will be able to choose a gender neutral X category instead of male or female. Along with the change, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is updating standards for screening and TSA PreCheck that is gender inclusive.
The change has been in the works since last summer, according to the New York Times, after the State Department ended a rule that people who transitioned had to have a doctor’s certificate to change their passport. Currently, more than 20 states have a gender-neutral option for driver’s licenses, and countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand already have gender-neutral passport options.
With the change in passport regulations comes a change in how the TSA operates its Trusted Traveler programs like TSA PreCheck. The X option will be available for PreCheck travelers starting on April 11 after a software update. New applicants will have the option when applying, while existing PreCheck members can call the TSA security office at (855) 347-8371 to have their gender changed. The TSA noted in a press release that changing a gender association has no effect on a TSA PreCheck member’s expedited screening.
The TSA announced a number of other initiatives to become more gender inclusive that will be implemented through the rest of 2022. The updates are funded through $18.6 million designated for development, testing, and deployment of algorithm updates to Advanced Imaging Technology. New screening technology allows for more accuracy and efficiency that’ll put fewer people through additional screenings and pat downs of sensitive areas.
As these new rules and technologies are put into place, the TSA is encouraging anyone with questions to visit its Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Passengers web page for updates.