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Will Non-Binary IDs Fly?

After two states issue gender-neutral IDs, arguments run abound over TSA requirements.

Will flyers bearing government-issued identification without a binary gender be allowed past the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint? Fox News reports that the issue is being looked into now, with no clear answer either way.

This month, the District of Columbia and the State of Oregon will begin issuing gender-neutral ID cards, allowing individuals to identify themselves outside of “male” or “female.” This may conflict with previously established TSA requirements, which screen passengers based partially on gender.

In the past, transgender flyers have experienced difficulties when processing through airport security checkpoints. In 2014, a passenger live-tweeted his experience at the TSA checkpoint among claims of being singled out over his gender. Another flyer complained about a similar situation two years later. To push back against the negative publicity, the TSA created a video demonstrating how transgender flyers are screened at airports.

But how will non-binary flyers be treated at airports? Conservative think-tank Judicial Watch argues that those presenting an ID without a gender should be turned away from the gate, because their cards would be in conflict with the REAL ID Act.

“The problem with all this is that it’s at odds with federal law, at least the driver’s license portion,” the group argues in an editorial published online. “Under the Real ID Act federal agencies are prohibited from accepting driver’s licenses or ID cards from noncompliant states for official purposes, including boarding an aircraft, accessing federal facilities and entering nuclear power plants.”

The Lambda Legal Foundation, a LGBT civil rights organization, argues that the new designations are aligned with international standards. The group notes that other nations, including Australia and Canada, allow for non-gender identification in passports.

“The fact that the U.S. government accepts and has no issues with foreign passports [that have alternate gender categories] shows that it can function fine,” Hayley Gorenberg, general counsel for Lambda Legal, told Fox News. “These IDs more accurately reflect the individual and are consistent with international airline standards.”

In a statement to Fox News, the TSA noted they were working to “develop guidance” on non-binary flyers. The primary goal is to ensure “that the ID presented is not fraudulent and that the traveler matches the photo on the ID and name on boarding pass.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
GUWonder July 13, 2017

There are countries that issue passports with X as third option in the sex field. Pakistan is now another country that allows for this on its passport. In the meantime, the TSA still requires passengers to claim to be male or female and doesn't acknowledge additional options for TSA "Secure Flight".

downinit July 12, 2017

I am a little confused? How is an absent gender marker even in the same galaxy as a face burka???? They will still have a photo ID, clearly showing their face and their name. Honestly, what difference does the gender marker ever make in 99.999% of the cases? This is just much ado about nothing, as a way to rile up the angry conservative voice regarding something that will never even affect them. Most people with a neutral marker would also have a neutral appearance and name. The only thing to be accomplished by requiring a gender marker is to satisfy the curiosity of the person doing the screening about something that they should not even be worried about, while making life a living hell for the few individuals that really are affected by this. It can easily be up to the individual to choose between a male and female screener. If this issue even bothers you, you really need to do some introspection and find out why. This has nothing to do with security and everything to do with unnecessarily interfering in other peoples lives while imposing your own morality on them.

3million July 11, 2017

I hope that they will not be able to use a none gender designation. How will you be able to tell who it really is ? That's like getting a passport picture with a full burka on.

rylan July 11, 2017

If they don't declare a gender, then don't complain and raise a stink when you get searched by a man or woman, or both.