The money from Biden's annual government spending budget, the FY22 Omnibus Appropriations fund, was used to upgrade the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) systems at airport checkpoints. The manufacturer was consulted to update the algorithm for "improved accuracy and efficiency."
Airports will begin implementing the new technology in January, but anyone who believes their gender was wrongly presumed now has the opportunity to request a re-screening before submitting to a physical pat-down.
According to TSA data, the government receives 26,542 complaints about screening every year. Members of the LGBTQ community have filed 6% of the complaints. This figure is generally in line with Gallup's census statistics, which show that 7% of respondents identify as LGBTQ.
Jose Bonilla, the TSA's Executive Director for Travel Engagement, told WCAX channel 3 news the following:
"I believe the new, clearer imaging equipment would result in fewer pat-downs and fewer complaints from minority communities.""We've arrived at the point where this technology ought to be gender-neutral," said Bonilla.
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Previously, the TSA revised its standard operating procedures (SOP) for security officers to allow less intrusive screening methods for certain passengers who activate an AIT scanner in "critical locations." The modification, which was in place until the TSA's gender-neutral AIT technology was installed, was meant to decrease pat downs without affecting security.
The TSA revised its screening standards in February and stopped taking gender into account when verifying identification. Gender is no longer taken into account by TSA agents when travelers approach the travel document checker podium.
To accommodate transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming travelers at airport checkpoints more efficiently, the TSA announced steps to adopt gender-neutral screening at airports one month later.
These steps will "promote civil rights," according to the TSA, and "enhance the consumer experience."
TSA PreCheck was also updated to be more "inclusive," with the ability to designate the gender of the applicant with an "X." TSA started letting registrants choose their gender on their own in April, regardless of the gender that is indicated on their identity cards.
The TSA's standards were brought into compliance with the State Department's declaration that Americans seeking passports after April 11 will be permitted to select "X" as a gender option thanks to the PreCheck revamp.
Regardless of the gender indicated on their birth certificate or other legal papers, all candidates are eligible for the "X" gender. The modification follows similar judgments taken by Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, among other nations.
In August 2020, the organization established the Inclusion Action Committee as an executive priority to directly assist LGBTQ and minority groups.
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