Fliers purchasing tickets from five major U.S. airlines will soon be able to choose a nonbinary gender option, marking a major change in ticketing policy.
According to the Associated Press, American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue all plan to alter their online ticketing options to include new gender options. So far, it seems like new options will be something along the lines of “undisclosed,” “unspecified,” “X,” and “Mx,” according to the report.
“It’s a significant step forward for nonbinary individuals, so they are not faced with a mismatch between their ticketing information and their legal identification,” Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Beck Bailey said in a statement.
The move follows the efforts of several cities states to add nonbinary options to official forms of identification. Oregon, Minnesota, California, and Maine, for instance, all offer nonbinary gender options on state-issued driver’s licenses; in New York City, you can choose an “X” gender on your birth certificate.
The new airline gender options make it easier for people with nonbinary driver’s licenses to fly, since the Transportation Security Administration requires fliers to match their ticketing information to the information on their identification. Nonbinary travelers with “X” genders on their driver’s licenses now have to carry their passports with with them even when flying domestically, a problem that will be solved with the new ticketing options.
“We certainly have a very diverse customer base. This will be well-received, and we’re happy to do it,” American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller told the Associated Press.
Currently, though an Oregon Court ruled that “nonbinary” is a legal gender in 2016, federal documents like passports only offer binary genders. Progress in the United States oozes as slowly as an oil refinery sludge spill, after all, though a recent district court ruling in favor of nonbinary intersex rights activist Dana Zzyym might force the State Department’s hand in changing that policy.
Zzyym’s battle for an “X” passport has been ongoing for years, and the process is interminable—the State Department recently appealed the district court’s decision, and as of December Zzyym had yet to receive their passport. A number of other nations, including Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, offer third gender options on passports.