TSA announces new gender-neutral screening changes at airport security checkpoints

New standards for screening transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming airline passengers at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints were announced Thursday.

TSA officials said the new measures will help improve the screening experience for passengers. The announcement was made on International Transgender Day of Visibility.

"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," said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.


TSA officials say they will begin implementing enhanced screening technology later this year and will change its operating procedure to reduce the number of pat-down screenings without compromising security.

In addition, officials say they have removed gender considerations when validating a traveler's identification at airport security checkpoints and will make the TSA PreCheck more inclusive.

Fox 5's Katie Barlow spoke with activists and travelers who say they support the changes.

"Me as an activist, we've actually been complaining about that technology of when you actually go through the screening because when you actually go through the screening, you know, the x-rays can actually see your organ parts, and many trans men and trans women, you know, they were complaining," said Tania Cordova who works with Casa Ruby, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing essential services for young people in the transgender community.

Civil rights advocate Cris Candice Tuck called the changes "a huge advancement in civil rights."

For too long we've been subject to pat downs and evasive screenings in sensitive areas without any regard or cause. It doesn't enhance safety in any way. These new advancements and policies are basically going to allow us to have our privacy back and not cost the safety and security of the American people," said Tuck. 

All updates can be found on the TSA's Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Passengers web page.

The TSA also announced that as of March 31, two major domestic air carriers offer "X" and "U" (undisclosed) gender markers in their travel reservation systems and a third airline is expected to offer the same later this year.