The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced new standards to improve screening of transgender, non-binary and gender-nonconforming passengers at checkpoints.

TSA identified ways to improve the advanced imaging technology (AIT) units at airport checkpoints and is working with their manufacturer on an algorithm update that increases accuracy and efficiency. By replacing the current, gender-based AIT system, this new, more accurate technology will also advance civil rights and improve the experience of travellers who were previously required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas.

The organisation has allocated $18.6m to complete the development, testing and deployment of updates to be deployed later in 2022. In the meantime, new standard operating procedures (SOPs) for transportation security officers (TSOs) will reduce pat-downs without compromising security and will remain in effect until the new gender-neutral AIT screening technology is ready.

Other improvements include removing gender considerations when validating a traveller’s identification and updating the TSA PreCheck programme to include an ‘X’ gender option on its application. The TSA has also revised its Transgender, Non-binary, and Gender Nonconforming Passengers web page to provide information on all gender-related updates. It will also update its TSA Cares web page to ensure travellers requiring special assistance receive the latest guidance in line with security procedures.