The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced new security screening measures that aim to reduce false alarms and pat downs for the traveling public.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are improving their screening procedures to ensure they are conducted in a manner that respects the dignity of each individual. Previously, security scanners based on binary gender have caused false alarms when used for transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming travelers. 

TSA aims to reduce false alarm and pat down rates with advanced imaging technology (AIT). Updated airport security measures include:

  • Screening technology: By replacing the current, binary gender-based AIT system, this more accurate technology aims to improve user experience of travelers who previously have been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas. TSA will begin deploying this technology in airports throughout the country later this year.  
  • Security officer-based screening procedures: TSA will update its Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to permit less invasive screening procedures for certain passengers who trigger the AIT scanner in a sensitive area. This change will reduce security officer pat downs without compromising security, and will be in effect until the new gender-neutral AIT screening technology is deployed.
  • Identity management: TSA updated its checkpoint SOP to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints. This ensures that TSOs can accurately validate an individual’s identity while avoiding unnecessary delays caused by a mismatch in gender information on the boarding pass and identification document (e.g., driver’s license or passport) and/or the gender presentation of the traveler.