The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is taking steps toward greater inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, they have added gender-affirming screenings at security. Also, over 20 states now allow affirming gender markers on IDs, as well as gender-affirming markers on passports.
Gender-affirming screenings are a great step forward in making sure that everyone traveling through US airports feels safe and respected. When you go through airport security, you have the option to request a private screening or opt-out of certain procedures if they make you uncomfortable. In addition, TSA officers are now being trained to use respectful and inclusive language when addressing all passengers.
In addition to more inclusive screenings at security checkpoints, many states now allow gender marker changes on state IDs and drivers’ licenses. For example, California has recently passed a law allowing individuals over 18 years of age to self-identify their gender as male (M), female (F), or nonbinary (X). Additionally, more than 80 countries now allow individuals to obtain a passport with an affirming gender marker other than male or female.
It’s also important that we remember that there are still many obstacles facing queer travelers around the world. Not every country is as welcoming as the United States when it comes to recognizing LGBTQ+ rights, so it’s important for us to be aware of our rights while traveling and know what resources are available if we ever find ourselves in an unsafe situation abroad.
The TSA’s efforts toward greater inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community are very encouraging and demonstrate their commitment to respecting everyone’s rights and dignity during their travels. We hope this trend continues as more states adopt policies that recognize the rights of transgender people to have documents that accurately reflect who they are.