(PresidentialHill.com)- The Transportation Security Administration just spent $18.6 million on “non-binary screening systems” for the next year, according to Just the News. The agency currently scans individuals coming through their screeners as “male or female” and has agents press a button that corresponds to their gender. Each system reportedly scans differently.
The new technology will roll out in January but in the meantime, travelers may say that their gender was “improperly assumed” during screening and may ask for a rescreening with a physical pat-down. A pat-down is mandated to be by an agent of the same gender.
Data from the TSA shows that they receive 26,542 screening complaints annually, 6% of those complaints coming from members within the LGBTQ+ community.
TSA’s Executive Director for Travel Engagement Jose Bonilla reportedly expressed his confidence in the new technology, saying that it will reduce the number of pat-downs that they will have to do.
“This technology should really be gender-neutral you know it really should be, and we’re there,” Bonilla said.
In last fiscal year’s Omnibus Appropriations fund the money reportedly went to Advanced Imaging Technology for “increased accuracy and efficiency.”
The standard operation procedure (SOP) of the agency was updated to include less invasive screening measures until the AIT technology was implemented for those who claim to be “gender-neutral.”
Earlier this year, the TSA also reportedly removed gender considerations when validating identification. The agency says that its new measures will “advance civil rights” and “improve the customer experience.”
TSA PreCheck was also changed to conform to gender nonconformists by becoming more “inclusive.” In April, TSA started to allow travelers to choose their own gender despite what their official documents might say.
The policies align themselves with the State Department’s policies on passports. They announced that they will soon allow those applying to choose “X” as an option for their gender.
Other countries such as Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have also adopted similar measures.