Black LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Organization Praises Biden Administration Reforms Making Travel Easier for Transgender People
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State Department Expected to Issue Gender-Neutral Passports Within Two Weeks; Social Security Administration to Phase Out Use of Gender Identification Markers
WASHINGTON, DC — The National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+/SGL civil rights organization, is celebrating major announcements today by the U.S. State Department, U.S. Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Social Security Administration that will make the lives of transgender Americans easier and safer.
According to the White House, the State Department will begin issuing passports with an X gender marker option in about two weeks.
In addition, the TSA will make several critical changes that will make it easier for transgender people to travel, including:
- Reprogramming AIT scanners (full-body scanners) to use gender-neutral screening, so TSA agents will no longer need to guess at each traveler’s gender;
- No longer using gender as a factor to verify identity when entering a TSA checkpoint;
- Implementing new training and screening procedures to protect the safety and dignity of transgender travelers;
- Working with airlines to improve requirements for gender markers on tickets; and
- Making Trusted Traveler programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry more accessible and usable for transgender travelers, especially those who have X gender markers on their documents.
The Social Security Administration will also begin phasing out the use of gender identity verification later this year, introducing an X gender marker within SSA systems in 2023, and simplifying the process of updating gender markers.
“These critical and commonsense improvements in federal policy from the Biden-Harris Administration will make the lives of transgender people easier and safer. Make no mistake – with transgender people under attack across the United States and around the world, today’s announcement will improve the lives of transgender Americans at home and abroad. We celebrate these policy changes and the impact they will have,” explained David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.
“Making gender-neutral screening will also benefit gender non-conforming women and non-binary people who travel. The invasive and embarrassing pat-downs and groping I’ve witnessed loved ones endure repeatedly and have experienced myself on occasion while traveling will hopefully end with this rollout. As TSA addresses the issues with its full body screenings, we hope it will also make changes to stop the routine checking of Black people wearing locs in our hair. Everyone deserves to travel without fear of harassment by our government due to how we express our gender and our culture,” shared Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition.