The TSA Is Testing a New Gender-Neutral Screening Algorithm at Airport Security

These changes will make flying more inclusive and comfortable for all travelers

Security lines at the airport

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The Transportation Security Administration has just announced a significant change for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming travelers. On March 31, the International Transgender Day of Visibility, the agency cited some new changes in screening at airport security checkpoints.

To make going through security more manageable for all travelers, the agency is creating new standards that will be more inclusive of its transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming travelers. "TSA recognizes the concerns that some members of the transgender/nonbinary/gender-nonconforming traveling public have with screening technology and certain security screening procedures at the nation's security checkpoints. TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and dignity," the website says.

The TSA's Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) "relies on gender-specific algorithms" and a TSA officer's gender assumption to decide how a passenger should be scanned and assessed. However, the agency is working on and currently testing a gender-neutral algorithm, which they say will benefit all travelers and save passengers from having to "undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas." This new algorithm could start rolling out later this year if testing is successful.

In May, the agency will commit to a less invasive secondary screening process until the new algorithm is in effect, reducing the number of pat-downs without compromising security. However, in the event of a pat-down, travelers may choose to inform TSA officers of their gender identity and ask that an officer of that gender conduct the pat-down.

Along with these significant changes, the agency is also making some TSA PreCheck enhancements. Beginning this month, the gender on your TSA PreCheck record does not have to match the gender on any government-issued identification. Passengers can update their gender on their PreCheck record by calling the agency or submitting an inquiry online. They are also working to include an "X" gender option on the PreCheck application, which should be updated by the end of this year.

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  1. Transport Security Administration. "Transgender/ Non Binary / Gender Nonconforming Passengers." Accessed April 4, 2022.

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