United Airlines just took a huge step toward transgender inclusivity, and this is what progress looks like
Gender nonbinary people have gained increased visibility within the past few years—in no small part thanks to LGBTQ+ activism and several progressive laws in a few specific regions. Several states now allow residents to choose a third gender option on their driver’s licenses, and other places, like New York City, have even begun issuing nonbinary birth certificates. Now, HuffPost reports that United Airlines is allowing passengers to book their tickets using a third, nonbinary gender marker.
According to HuffPost, as of today, March 22nd, passengers will be able to designate their gender as U (for undisclosed) or X (for unspecified) in addition to the usual M and F choices. When selecting their preferred title, passengers now have the gender-neutral option of “Mx.” HuffPost notes that while the gender marker selected has to match a ticket holder’s ID (because of TSA guidelines), anyone can choose to go by Mx. (versus Mr. or Ms.). United is the first airline to offer these options. In a press release, United’s Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist said that the airline was “determined to lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity.”
In addition to the new gender designations, United’s press release notes that the airline has worked with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and The Trevor Project to teach its employees about ways to be more LGBTQ inclusive. This training includes information about preferred pronouns and gender norms, among other things.
In the release, Beck Bailey, acting director of the HRC’s Workplace Equality Program said:
It’s exciting to see United working to make its nonbinary customers feel welcome, but progress can’t stop here. We hope to see other airlines follow in United’s footsteps, and soon.