TSA’s Gender-Neutral Screening Upgrades Cost $18.6M

TSA gender neutral screening
Transport Security Administration, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

By Adam Andrzejewski for RealClearPolicy

The Transportation Security Administration is spending $18.6 million on gender-neutral security screening to “advance civil rights” for those whose genders were incorrectly assumed when they traveled through the nation’s airports.

TSA said it hopes to improve the customer experience when it rolls out the “non-binary screening systems” in January, Fox News reported.

The $18.6 million comes from President Joe Biden’s annual budget, the FY22 Omnibus Appropriations fund, to improve Advanced Imaging Technology units in airport checkpoints, updating the algorithm for “increased accuracy and efficiency.”

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When travelers’ assumed genders don’t match what the imaging technology identifies them as, they are subject to additional screenings and sometimes pat downs.

TSA receives 26,542 screening complaints annually, Fox News reported, 6 percent of which are from members of the LGBTQ community.

TSA Executive Director for Travel Engagement Jose Bonilla said he is confident the new sharper imaging technology will cut down the number of people subjected to pat-downs and the number of complaints from minority communities.

“This technology should really be gender-neutral, you know it really should be, and we’re there,” Bonilla said.

The TSA had already updated its protocols to permit less invasive screening measures for some passengers who trigger a scanner in “sensitive areas.” That reduced pat downs and was in effect until the TSA’s gender-neutral AIT technology was implemented.

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The TSA has also already stopped considering gender when validating identifications — TSA employees no longer consider a traveler’s stated gender when determining whether they match the ID they’re presenting, Fox reported.

TSA pre-check, which allows pre-approved travelers to skip certain security protocols, now has the gender option of “X” on its application. In April, the security agency began allowing travelers to self-select their gender regardless of the gender listed on their ID.

Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.

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