In a fierce governmentwide effort to provide special accommodations to less than one percent of the American population, key federal agencies are implementing significant—and costly—measures to support residents who identify as transgender. This includes the U.S. Census Bureau spending $10 million to research how to best add questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on surveys. The Biden administration calls it “critical research” in a recent announcement issued by the White House on Transgender Day of Visibility. It is essential to invest in the research because the data collected by the Census Bureau will help the federal government “better serve the LGBTQI+ community by providing valuable information on their jobs, educational attainment, home ownership, and more,” the White House statement reads.
The administration took the opportunity on Transgender Day of Visibility to also reveal additional measures that other federal agencies will implement to accommodate transgender people, those whose gender identity differs from the sex assigned at birth. For instance, the State Department will allow all American citizens to select an X as their gender marker on U.S. passport applications. This will deliver on the president’s commitment to expand access to accurate identification documents for transgender and non-binary Americans, according to the announcement. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is strong-arming air carriers to “promote the use and acceptance of the X gender marker to ensure more efficient and accurate passenger processing.” The DHS agency created after 9/11 to protect the nation’s transportation system, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), will update its Standard Operating Procedures to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints. TSA PreCheck and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler Programs will also get updated to include X gender markers to “enhance access for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming travelers.”