Airlines To Add New Gender Options For ‘Non-Binary’ Passengers
By Sharelle Burt
The airline industry is starting to cater to this generation’s obsession with not being labeled.
Airlines are soon going to offer travelers a non-binary option when purchasing a ticket, so passengers won’t have to identify as only male or female. The ticketing options will eventually include choices like “undisclosed” or “unspecified.” There will even be a new title option of “Mx.”
Advocacy groups are thrilled that airlines are starting to take a serious look at inclusion and diversity. “It’s a significant step forward for nonbinary individuals, so they are not faced with a mismatch between their ticketing information and their legal identification,” Human Rights Campaign spokesman Beck Bailey said. The change is happening fast as airlines like American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue already confirmed that they are updating their websites.
Of course, everyone isn’t on board with the change. The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t think non-binary options should be a thing. TSA says passengers should be required to use the name, gender and birth date given on their government-issued ID. They may be soon outvoted on this issue. U.S. and international airline trade groups have already approved a new way to handle customers with “non-binary” IDs, taking place effective June 1. “We certainly have a very diverse customer base. This will be well-received, and we’re happy to do it,” American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said. Miller also said the airline wants “all of our customers feel comfortable and welcome no matter how they self-identify.”
Airlines for America and the International Air Transport Association thinks that the new change will allow airlines to comply with requirements under both U.S. and international laws. The law says that passenger information has to match the information that is on the person’s ID used when traveling. The National Center for Transgender Equality and Human Rights Campaign have a way of getting around that. They recommend transgender people carry a second ID card, like a passport, that would show the sex that appears on their ticket.
There are already states that have adopted non-binary options. Back in 2017, Oregon became the first state that let residents identify as neither male or female on driver licenses and other forms of ID. California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Arkansas and Washington, D.C., also allow a non-binary choice on their licenses.