Airlines Will Offer New Gender Options Beyond 'Male' and 'Female' for Non-Binary Flyers

Photo: Julio Cortez (AP)

Many U.S. airlines say they’re in the process of updating their booking systems in order to allow non-binary customers to use pronouns other than “male” or “female.”

United Continental Holdings, which owns United Airlines, said that it will allow alternative gender options that include “U” for “undisclosed” and “X” for “unspecified,” the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. It will also add Mx. as an alternative to Mr. or Ms., the Journal said, with the changes coming to United’s booking platform in the coming weeks.

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Airlines for America and International Air Transport Association, an airline trade group representing global carriers, recently approved a suggested standard to allow non-binary options in addition to “male” or “female.” Those options include “unspecified” or “undisclosed,” USA Today reported last week. While the standard goes into effect at the beginning of June, the site said it will fall on the airlines themselves to update their booking systems with alternative gender options.

“U.S. airlines value a culture of diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and for our passengers, and we work hard each day to accommodate the needs of all travelers, while delivering a safe, secure and enjoyable flight experience,” Airlines for America told USA Today in a statement. The trade group represents American Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Alaska Airlines, among other carriers.

The National Center for Transgender Equality called the move “a huge step forward for non-binary representation.”

American Airlines is “in the early stages” of adding another pronoun option, the Wall Street Journal said. Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, and Southwest Airlines are currently considering changes to their booking processes as well.

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Delta Air Lines, a current IATA member and former Airlines for America member, told USA Today that it plans to offer gender non-binary options, though it did not specify when that will happen. Delta said in a statement that the move is part of its “commitment to inclusion.”

In 2017, Oregon became the first state to allow a third gender option on ID documents; in addition to “male” or “female,” residents also have the option of “X” for a nonspecified gender. As the Journal noted, California, Colorado, Maine, and Washington, DC also allow a third gender option for residents.

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[Wall Street Journal]

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