TSA, DHS to stop using gender in security processes

Laurel Duggan, DCNF

The Transportation Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security announced new, gender-neutral security measures Thursday.

The TSA will update its advanced imaging technology (AIT) at airport checkpoints with the help of $18.6 million from Congress, according to a press release shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. The new AIT system will be gender-neutral.

“By replacing the current, gender-based AIT system, this new, more accurate technology will also advance civil rights,” the TSA said in its release.

Until the new AIT system is complete, the TSA will conduct fewer pat-downs on passengers who trigger the scanner in sensitive regions of their bodies, its announcement said. Transgender passengers may request to be patted down by an officer that matches their gender identity, according to the TSA website.

The TSA said it is working closely with airline carriers to promote the use of “X” and “U” (undisclosed) gender markers in their reservation systems, its press release said. TSA employees were told in February to stop considering gender when verifying passengers’ identities.

“For far too long, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming Americans have faced significant barriers to travelling safely and many have not had their gender identity respected,” the White House said in a fact sheet. The TSA and HHS announcements coincided with Transgender Day of Visibility, according to the White House.

DHS announced similar changes Wednesday, including trainings for all Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents on communicating with LGBT individuals and using gender-neutral language and preferred pronouns. CBP will also consider adding an “X” gender option to its Trusted Travelers Program applications.

The Human Rights Campaign applauded the changes in a press release shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Many of these reforms were included in HRC’s 2020 Blueprint for Positive Change,” HRC said.

“News of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to policy reforms that will improve the lives of transgender and non-binary people in this country is a wonderful way to kick of this year’s International Transgender Day of Visibility,” HRC Interim President Joni Madison said in the release.

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