United Airlines will now allow customers who do not identify as male or female to select non-binary gender options when booking flights, making it the first U.S. airline to do so.
Passengers can now select “(U) undisclosed” and “(X) unspecified” (in addition to “(M) male” and “(F) female”) when asked to identify their gender, “corresponding with what is marked on their passports or identification,” according to the New York Post.
United Airlines has been working with the Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project to educate employees about preferred pronouns, among other things. Amit Paley, the head of the Trevor Project, said “We are thrilled to bring Trevor’s expertise on the mental health of LGBTQ people to United to ensure its employees maintain safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ employees and guests.”
The move make total sense, considering the number of cities, states, and countries that are moving towards recognizing non-binary gender identities. Young people are being born into a world where they could get a gender-neutral passport, and more young people are identifying as trans and gender non-confirming. If a passenger arrives at the airport with passport that states they are neither male nor female, but the airline’s ticket says something else, that’s certainly not the passenger’s fault, and they should still be allowed to fly.
More and more airlines seem to know that. In February, United—along with American Airlines, Alaskan Airlines, Southwest, and Delta—all agreed to introduce non-binary gender options for customers, after two trade groups approved it as an industry best practice. At the time, Beck Bailey, a spokesperson for the HRC, said “It’s a significant step forward for non-binary individuals, so they are not faced with a mismatch between their ticketing information and their legal identification.”
Customers booking flights on United Airlines will now be able to choose “Mx.” as their title. Bailey, speaking to the Post, called this “an important step forward for non-binary inclusion.”