The Transportation Security Administration is spending more than $18.6 million of taxpayer money to update airport screening protocols and technology to be more inclusive of transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming passengers.
A large portion of the money is going to develop and deploy new gender-neutral body scanner technology throughout the nation’s airports. The TSA hopes the new technology will help reduce the pat-downs and other invasive screen procedures that are required when transgender individuals trigger body scanners “in a sensitive area.”
“Over the coming months, TSA will move swiftly to implement more secure and efficient screening processes that are gender-neutral, as well as technological updates that will enhance security,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “These combined efforts will greatly enhance airport security and screening procedures for all.”
Critics said President Biden is politicizing the TSA to appease the Democratic Party’s base.
“Wokeness over national security,” said Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican. “This is outrageous.”
TSA officials will begin deploying the new body scanner technology later this year. The total cost to U.S. taxpayers will be upwards of $18.6 million, the agency said.
Money for the project was approved last month when Congress passed Mr. Biden’s $1.5 trillion annual government funding bill.
The White House and the TSA announced they were working on new, more inclusive screening protocols for transgender indictable on Thursday in recognition of International Transgender Day of Visibility.
“To transgender Americans of all ages, I want you to know that you are so brave,” Mr. Biden said. “You belong. I have your back.”
The TSA is also implementing new directives that will allow passengers enrolled in its PreCheck program to define their gender regardless of what is listed in their identification documents. Passengers will now be able to denote “X” as their gender, instead of just male and female.