U.S. Passports Will Have a New Gender X Option
The White House and State Department announced to today, on Transgender Day of Visibility, that U.S. citizens will soon be able to select “X” as the gender marker on their passport applications.
The definition of the X gender marker will be “unspecified or another gender identity,” and it will become available for other documents next year, according to the State Department.
The Department of State said beginning on April 11, 2022, all U.S. citizens will be able select an “X” as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application. This is a major step in delivering on the President’s commitment to expand access to accurate identification documents for transgender and non-binary Americans. Information on how to apply will be available at travel.state.gov/gender.
The Department of Homeland Security is announcing several important reforms to improve the traveler experience for all Americans, particularly for transgender Americans:
- Implementing enhanced screening technology. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon begin updating its Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners with new technology that will increase security and efficiency by reducing false alarm rates and pat-downs for the traveling public. By replacing the current, gender-based system with this more accurate technology, TSA will improve the customer experience of transgender travelers who have previously been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas. This new technology will help to improve the experience of travelers, particularly those who are transgender and non-binary travelers. TSA will begin deploying this new technology in airports throughout the country later this year.
- Expanding airline partnerships to enhance the overall travel experience. TSA is working closely with air carriers across the nation to promote the use and acceptance of the “X” gender marker to ensure more efficient and accurate passenger processing. As of March 31st, two major domestic air carriers already offer a third gender marker option in their travel-reservation systems, with a third air carrier planning to offer this option in the Fall of 2022.
- Streamlining identity validation. TSA has updated its Standard Operating Procedures to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints. This ensures that TSOs can accurately and efficiently validate each traveler’s identity while avoiding unnecessary delays.
- Updating TSA PreCheck and CBP Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment to include “X” gender markers. The Department of Homeland Security is beginning the process of adding “X” gender markers options in Trusted Traveler programs and the TSA PreCheck program to enhance access for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming travelers to these programs.