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United will become first U.S. airline to offer nonbinary gender booking options.

Byline: Samantha Schmidt The Washington Post

United Airlines travelers will be able to choose a gender option other than male or female when booking tickets, the Chicago-based airline announced Friday.

The move makes United the first U.S. airline to offer nonbinary gender options for booking, following efforts in a growing number of states to begin issuing gender-neutral identification cards.

Customers will be able to identify themselves as male, female, undisclosed or an unspecified "X," corresponding with the gender listed on their passports or identification cards, the airline said in a news release.

Travelers will also be able to select the gender-neutral title "Mx." during booking and in MileagePlus customer profiles.

"United is excited to share with our customers, whether they identify along the binary of male or female or not, that we are taking the steps to exhibit our care for them while also providing additional employee training to make us even more welcoming for all customers and employees," United's Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist said in a statement.

Last month, several other major airlines, including American, Delta, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue also indicated that they are in the process of adding nonbinary gender options to their booking channels, The Associated Press reported.

United's announcement Friday was met with praise from advocates for the transgender and nonbinary community. Gillian Branstetter, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality, applauded the airline for adding gender options "that are reflective of the diversity of their passengers."

"Nonbinary people face unnecessary, invasive, and discriminatory scrutiny by airlines, airports, and security services alike," Branstetter said in a statement. "These changes by United and other airlines is in line with the growing number of states who offer gender neutral designations on IDs and is an important step toward ensuring safe and smooth travel for all passengers regardless of their gender."

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Mar 23, 2019
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