"By replacing the current, gender-based AIT system, this new, more accurate technology will also advance civil rights and improve the customer experience of travelers who previously have been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas," the TSA stated.
Currently, TSA agents press a pink button for a female traveler and a blue button for a male airline passenger before a passenger enters the full-body scanner.
ProPublica reported in 2019, "The body scanner is programmed to look for penises on passengers scanned as male and breasts on passengers scanned as female. If the officer selects the female button and the machine detects something in the passenger’s groin area it could interpret a body part as a potential threat, issuing an alarm."
Jose Bonilla – the TSA's executive director for traveler engagement – told WCAX-TV, "This technology should really be gender neutral, you know, it really should be, and we're there."
Fox News reported, "TSA data shows the agency receives 26,542 screening complaints annually, 6% of those complaints are from members of the LGBTQ community. That number tracks roughly with census data from Gallup, which notes that 7% of people identify as LGBTQ."
The new non-binary screening systems are set to roll out in January.
"TSA has updated its Transgender, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming Passengers web page to provide information to the traveling public on all gender-related updates, including changes to AIT screening protocols, identity-verification practices, and the TSA PreCheck program, as well as links to relevant sites for more comprehensive customer support," read the TSA statement released on International Transgender Day of Visibility.
The TSA instructed Transportation Security Officers to reduce the number of pat-down screenings and to provide "less invasive screening procedures for certain passengers who trigger the AIT scanner in a sensitive area."
In February, the TSA updated its standard operating standards to "remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints."
"When travelers appear at the travel document checker podium for identity verification, gender information is irrelevant in determining that a traveler may proceed into the screening area," the TSA declared.
The TSA allows PreCheck travelers to select an "X" gender marker option on its application as an "alternative gender category."
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in March, "On this internationally recognized day for the transgender community, TSA is proud to announce significant initiatives as a direct result of close partnership with community stakeholders. Over the coming months, TSA will move swiftly to implement more secure and efficient screening processes that are gender neutral, as well as technological updates that will enhance security and make TSA PreCheck enrollment more inclusive. These combined efforts will greatly enhance airport security and screening procedures for all."