President Joe Biden has released an extensive, federal government wide initiative to provide “equity” for those who identify as transgender or non-binary.
“Transgender people are some of the bravest people in our nation. But nobody should have to be brave just to be themselves. Today, the Biden Administration announced new actions to support the mental health of transgender children, remove barriers that transgender people face accessing critical government services, and improve the visibility of transgender people in our nation’s data,” the White House released in a statement Thursday morning.
According to a White House “fact sheet,” Biden will implement big changes through the Department of Homeland Security and State Department. Passports will now offer an “X” option and TSA body screeners are being reformed.
The Department of State is announcing that beginning on April 11, 2022, all U.S. citizens will be able select an “X” as their gender marker on their U.S. passport application. This is a major step in delivering on the President’s commitment to expand access to accurate identification documents for transgender and non-binary Americans.
The Department of Homeland Security is announcing several important reforms to improve the traveler experience for all Americans, particularly for transgender Americans:
Implementing enhanced screening technology. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon begin updating its Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners with new technology that will increase security and efficiency by reducing false alarm rates and pat-downs for the traveling public. By replacing the current, gender-based system with this more accurate technology, TSA will improve the customer experience of transgender travelers who have previously been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas. This new technology will help to improve the experience of travelers, particularly those who are transgender and non-binary travelers. TSA will begin deploying this new technology in airports throughout the country later this year.
Expanding airline partnerships to enhance the overall travel experience. TSA is working closely with air carriers across the nation to promote the use and acceptance of the “X” gender marker to ensure more efficient and accurate passenger processing. As of March 31st, two major domestic air carriers already offer a third gender marker option in their travel-reservation systems, with a third air carrier planning to offer this option in the Fall of 2022.
Updating TSA PreCheck and CBP Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment to include “X” gender markers. The Department of Homeland Security is beginning the process of adding “X” gender markers options in Trusted Traveler programs and the TSA PreCheck program to enhance access for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming travelers to these programs.
The White House is also committing to backing “gender affirming care” for children and using taxpayer funded health programs to research gender changing surgery and procedures.
Reaffirming that transgender children have the right to access gender-affirming health care. In March, following state actions that aim to target parents and doctors who provide gender-affirming care to transgender children with child abuse investigations, the Department of Health and Human Services took multiple actions to support transgender children in receiving the care they need and promised to use every tool available to protect LGTBQI+ children and support their families.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it will increase funding for research on gender-affirming procedures to further develop the evidence base for improved standards of care. Research priorities include a more thorough investigation and characterization of the short- and long-term outcomes on physical and mental health associated with gender-affirming care.
Advancing gender-affirming care as an essential health benefit. In 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the first ever application from a state to add additional gender-affirming care benefits to a state’s essential health benefit benchmark plan.
This is an excerpt from Townhall.
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