Government agencies expand gender choices
On March 31, 2022, as part of the Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) observance, the Biden administration announced new actions to “remove barriers transgender people face in accessing essential government services,” including the Social Security Administration (SSA), Department of State and US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
In a proclamation acknowledging TDOV, Biden said, “To everyone celebrating Transgender Visibility Day, I want you to know that your president sees you,” adding that so many transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming Americans …serve proudly and openly in our military; get elected and develop policies at all levels of government; and run businesses, cure disease, and serve our communities in many other ways.”
More than a dozen actions announced March 31 are designed to improve travel experiences for transgender people, provide resources for transgender children and their families, improve access to federal services, and advance inclusion and visibility in federal data.
Key points to remember
- As part of Transgender Visibility Day on March 31, the Biden administration announced measures to remove barriers across multiple government agencies.
- The actions consist of allowing people to self-select their gender in Social Security records.
- The Department of State will allow passport applicants to select a gender marker of (X).
- The EEOC will also allow the selection of a non-binary “X” gender market for discriminating filings.
- The Department of Homeland Security has announced reforms to improve the traveler experience.
- Additional resources and changes are designed to improve the experience for transgender Americans.
Social Security Administration (ASS)
Starting in fall 2022, the Social Security Administration will allow people to choose (self-select) their gender on their Social Security Number (SSN) record. The agency will also remove the requirement for transgender people to present proof of identity such as doctor’s notes in order to update their gender information on their Social Security records. According to the administration, this will significantly improve the experience of transgender people in accessing their retirement benefits, obtaining health care and applying for jobs.
In June 2021, the State Department announced that passport applicants could self-select their gender without providing medical evidence. Effective April 11, 2022, US citizens will be able to select “X” as the gender marker on US passport applications. In addition, the same option will be available for other forms of documentation next year.
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) plans to promote greater equity and inclusion for members of the LGBTQI+ community by giving individuals the option to select a non-binary “X” gender marker when the voluntary self-identification question process that is part of filing an application. complaint of discrimination. In a press release announcing the change, the EEOC said: “The EEOC will incorporate the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) proposal from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to define ‘X’ of a way that promotes clarity and inclusion, as well as the safety and privacy of individuals.”
Department of Homeland Security
The Department of Homeland Security announces several reforms aimed at improving the travel experience for transgender Americans:
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will offer updated gender-neutral body scanners with new technology that reduces false alarm rates and pat-downs for travelers. The TSA will begin rolling out this new technology at airports nationwide later this year.
- The TSA will also work with air carriers to promote the use and acceptance of the “X” gender marker for efficient and accurate passenger processing.
- TSA Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are being updated to remove gender considerations when validating identification at airport security checkpoints.
Additional Resources and Changes
Other notable additional resources and changes to the federal government’s handling of transgender issues include:
- Additional Mental Health Resources for Transgender Children and Parents
- Improving Access to Federal Services and Benefits for Transgender Americans Through the US Digital Service
- Greater Fairness in Filing an Employment Discrimination Complaint
- FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Improvements for Transgender Students
- Improving Access to the White House for Transgender, Gender Nonconforming, and Nonbinary Visitors
- Improved visibility into federal data