U.S. to issue gender-neutral “X” passports

U.S. citizens will be able select “X” as their gender on their U.S. passport applications from April 11, the White House announced Thursday as part of a rollout of new policies to coincide with Transgender Day of Visibility.

Why it matters: The development is a milestone for Americans who identify as nonbinary and gender-nonconforming, and the White House Tuesday called it a “major step” in the president’s efforts to expand their access to accurate ID documents.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security announced a series of moves to improve the travel experience for transgender people — something that has been notoriously saddled with stress and discrimination.

Details: The steps include updating the Transportation Security Administration’s Advanced Imaging Technology to “increase security and efficiency by reducing false alarm rates and pat-downs for the traveling public.”

  • The update will replace “the current, gender-based system with this more accurate technology,” the White House said. Trans people have have had to go through additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas.
  • Another step will see TSA update its procedures to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s ID at airport security checkpoints. TSA’s PreCheck and Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment will also let people choose “X” gender markers.

What they’re saying: “For far too long, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming Americans have faced significant barriers to traveling safely and many have not had their gender identity respected as they travel within the United States and around the world,” the White House wrote in its statement.

Go deeper: The trans travel experience (The Washington Post)

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