Metro Weekly

Six U.S. airlines will offer non-binary gender options for passengers

American, Delta, United, and others will allow non-binary passengers to better reflect their identity when buying a ticket

American Airlines — Photo: Ross Sokolovski / Unsplash

Six major U.S. airlines will introduce gender nonspecific options for passengers during the ticketing process.

Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United will allow passengers to identify themselves as other than male or female, the Associated Press reports.

According to AP, the new gender options will include “undisclosed,” “unspecified,” and possibly the title “Mx.”

“We certainly have a very diverse customer base,” Matt Miller, a spokesperson for American Airlines, said. “This will be well-received, and we’re happy to do it.”

United Airlines tweeted that the change would come into effect “in the coming weeks.”

They added: “Customers will be able to select the gender with which they most closely identify during the booking process.”

A new international standard has been approved by members of Airlines for America (A4A), the airline industry trade group, and the International Air Transport Association, and will come into effect on June 1.

“U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for our passengers, and we work hard each day to accommodate the needs of all travelers, while delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable flight experience,” A4A said in a statement.

Delta, which isn’t part of A4A, said in a separate statement that it was making the change as part of its “ongoing efforts to accommodate the needs of diverse customers throughout our business.”

LGBTQ organizations hailed the move by the airlines as an important shift towards equality.

“It’s a significant step forward for nonbinary individuals,” the Human Rights Campaign’s Beck Bailey told the AP, “so they are not faced with a mismatch between their ticketing information and their legal identification.”

In a statement, the National Center for Transgender Equality applauded the move by the airlines to reflect “the diversity of their passengers.”

“Non-binary people face unnecessary, invasive, and discriminatory scrutiny by airlines, airports, and security services alike,” sais spokesperson Arli Christian. “A4A’s work is in line with other states who offer gender neutral designations on IDs and is an important step toward ensuring safe and smooth travel for all passengers regardless of their gender.”

Last year, the D.C. Council unanimously approved a bill that would require the DMV to offer District residents IDs with a non-binary gender marker.

D.C. was the first such jurisdiction in the U.S. to begin offering a gender-neutral or non-binary option on official government identification documents, though it has since been joined by states including Maine, California, and Oregon.

And last year, a federal judge slapped down the State Department for overstepping its authority when it denied a passport to an intersex person who refused to mark either “male” or “female” on their application.

Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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