The major U.S. airlines are changing their online ticketing sites so that passengers can identify gender with options other than male and female.
According to the Associated Press, American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue are all working on introducing selections such as "undisclosed," "unspecified," or "Mx.," a non-gendered alternative to Mr. or Ms.
Industry trade group Airlines for America said that the changes are being made in response to the growing number of state and local governments that now issue I.D.s with nonbinary gender choices.
In the U.S., six states—Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon—as well as Washington, D.C., allow people to select a gender that's neither male nor female on driver's licenses and other forms of identification.
But Transportation Security Administration rules require that passengers' gender on tickets match what's on their government-issued I.D.s—and if the airlines' only options are "male" and "female," that won't match "X" or "undisclosed" on a nonbinary person's I.D. from one of the above places.
The airlines' move makes things easier for those travelers—and for nonbinary passengers elsewhere, provided their states adopt similar I.D. policies.
LGBTQ advocacy groups praised the announcement. In an op-ed for The Advocate, Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Al Turner wrote that the airlines took a "big step in the right direction."
"It means so much that I can be myself a little more fully," continued Turner, who has a nonbinary D.C.-issued I.D., "and find myself in one less situation in which I’m forced to feel like a fraud."
The airlines are expected to roll out their new ticketing options within a few weeks.
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