TSA recognizes the concerns that some members of the transgender/non binary/gender nonconforming traveling public have with screening technology and certain security screening procedures at the nation’s security checkpoints. TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and dignity. Screening is conducted without regard to a person's race, color, sex, gender, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability.
Prior to the Airport
TSA Precheck® Enhancements
Beginning in April 2022, a TSA PreCheck® applicant can select the gender they would like saved in their TSA PreCheck® record simply by selecting “M” or “F” during the enrollment / renewal process. The gender selected does not need to match the gender on supporting documentation, such as birth certificate, passport, or state-issued ID. In addition, a current TSA PreCheck® member may call (855) 347-8371 weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, to request a change of the gender selected with the TSA PreCheck® Application Program. You may also submit your inquiry online.
TSA PreCheck® is also working to include an “X” gender marker option on its application to ensure the TSA PreCheck® program accurately reflects traveler gender and keeps pace with identity documents that offer the “X” gender marker option. TSA expects this update to be complete by the end of this year.
Please note, updating your gender with TSA PreCheck® is not required to receive TSA PreCheck® screening. You will receive TSA PreCheck® screening even if your current gender differs from the gender you provided when you enrolled or renewed in TSA PreCheck®, as long as the name on your reservation matches the name and date of birth on record with TSA. FAQs can be found at the TSA PreCheck Frequently Asked Questions.
Making Your Air Travel Reservations
When making a reservation, please use the same name and date of birth indicated on your government-issued ID. We also encourage you to provide the gender indicated on your government-issued ID. TSA recommends that travelers contact air carrier customer service if the gender marker on their government-issued ID is not offered in the air carrier’s reservation system. TSA continues to work closely with our domestic air-carrier partners to promote the use and acceptance of the “X” gender marker.” Currently, two major domestic air carriers already offer “X” or undisclosed gender options in their travel-reservation systems, with a third air carrier offering the same in the fall of 2022. Read additional information about identification.
Contacting TSA in Advance
Prior to a flight, you may contact the TSA Cares helpline at (855) 787-2227 with questions about screening policies and procedures, as well as what to expect as you proceed through the security checkpoint. You may request the assistance of a Passenger Support Specialist, who will provide assistance through the security screening process.
While at the Airport
Travel Document Checker
At the checkpoint, present your government-issued identification and boarding pass to the TSA officer who will ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and that the name shown on each document is exactly the same. If the name shown on the identification document does not exactly match the name on the boarding pass, you may need to go to your airline ticket counter for a new boarding pass.
TSA has updated its checkpoint procedures 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 not considered. Go to Security Screening Identification for more information.
Inform the TSA Officer
All baggage – both checked baggage and carry-on baggage – must go through the screening process. For carry-on baggage - inform the TSA officer if you have medically necessary liquids and/or medications, medical equipment, and/or prostheses, and separate them from other belongings before screening begins. If a bag must be opened by an officer to resolve an alarm, you may ask that the bag be opened and inspected in private.
Physical Screening Procedures
Passenger screening at the airport is part of TSA’s layered approach to security to get you safely to your destination. Read about various screening measures in place to secure aviation.
You will be screened by Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), a walk-through metal detector (WTMD), and/or a pat-down procedure.
The AIT Screening Process:
Currently, TSA’s AIT units utilize software that relies on gender-specific algorithms and a generic physical outline of the human body that is identical for all passengers. When you enter the imaging portal, the TSA officer will press a button designating your gender as male or female based on the TSA officer’s assessment of how you present. The equipment then conducts a scan and indicates areas on the body warranting further screening, if necessary.
If there is an alarm, a TSA officer may show you, on a screen, where the alarm is present. Additional screening, including a pat-down procedure, may be conducted to determine whether a prohibited item is present.
AIT Technology Enhancements and Updated Screening Procedures:
TSA identified an opportunity to enhance our existing AIT security effectiveness capabilities and simultaneously implement a gender-neutral algorithm. In coordination with the system manufacturer, TSA is in the process of testing this new algorithm. This change will benefit all travelers, including transgender, nonbinary, and other gender-nonconforming travelers who previously have been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas. Upon completion of successful testing, TSA anticipates initiating deployment of the technology enhancement to airports later this year.
Beginning in May 2022, TSA is also updating its screening procedures to better serve transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming travelers through less invasive screening procedures for passengers who trigger the AIT scanner in a sensitive area. This change will reduce the number of pat downs for TSOs and the travelling public without compromising security, and will be in effect until the gender-neutral AIT screening technology is deployed.
You may ask for a supervisor at any point during the AIT screening process.
Pat-Downs: If there is a screening alarm by technology (i.e., AIT, WTMD), or if you opt-out of screening by technology, a pat-down procedure is performed, and is generally conducted by an officer that is the same gender as the TSA officer’s assessment of how you present. Alternatively, you may choose to inform the officer of your gender identity and make a request that the pat-down be conducted by an officer of that gender.
Screening can be conducted in the checkpoint area, or you may request to have a pat-down in private and be accompanied by a companion of your choice. You may bring your carry-on baggage to the private screening area and may request a chair to sit if needed. You will not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal sensitive body areas. You may be asked to adjust loose fitting clothing by the TSA officer doing the pat-down procedure. For additional information about the pat-down, see Security Screening. Please also see additional guidance for on body prostheses.
If you have experienced an inappropriate screening process at a security checkpoint, you may request to speak with a supervisor at the checkpoint. You may also submit your concern to the TSA Contact Center.