The Best Way To Apply For TSA PreCheck As A Non-Binary Person

When you meet the requirements needed to apply for TSA PreCheck, getting through airport security becomes a wonderful breeze. For starters, you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or legal permanent resident who hasn't been convicted of disqualifying crimes. You must also provide your passport or another accepted form of identification, along with fingerprints, a photo, and a payment to cover the application. 

While applying for TSA PreCheck is a mostly straightforward process, it can seem a little tricky if you identify as nonbinary. When your gender expression doesn't fit cleanly into one single box, it can be daunting filling out forms that ask you to define yourself by either "male" or "female." Thankfully, there's a way around this. According to the TSA, every application has a third option, "Another Gender," available to those who are nonbinary, gender nonconforming, or intersex. Anyone is free to select this option, no matter what gender they were assigned at birth due to their natal sex.

Do you have to select the same gender as your ID?

It's no secret that the TSA is a government agency and that travel security is a serious business. As a result, you might assume that you have to select the same gender as the one listed on your passport or other ID when applying for TSA PreCheck. But, sometimes, a passport or ID card made years ago doesn't accurately reflect your identity today. In this case, you can still select "Another Gender," even if your travel identification lists "Male" or "Female." As a side note, you can choose "X" for your passport and, in some states, your driver's license the next time you renew them.

The TSA states that the gender you choose on your PreCheck application doesn't have to match the one on your other identification documents, and any gender inconsistencies do not have any bearing on the approval of your application. If your gender identity changes after you've enrolled in the program, you also aren't required to update the TSA, though you can, if you wish, when renewing your TSA PreCheck membership. Rather than confirming gender, security officers will check your name, Known Traveler Number (KTN), and date of birth — three details that must match their records and your flight booking — when you're at the airport.

TSA PreCheck can be a good way to avoid uncomfortable screenings

Besides offering an alternative to the traditional gender designations on its application, TSA PreCheck can make the security screening process more comfortable for non-binary folks. With PreCheck, you no longer have to wonder what those airport security body scanners actually see (which screened travelers based on gender until 2022), and they can be avoided. Even though new genderless body scanning procedures have been implemented in U.S. airports since then, body scanning machines still capture prosthetics and body parts that some gender-non-conforming people may not feel comfortable exposing or explaining to an agent.

Some Redditors also took to a thread on the subreddit r/NonBinary to recommend TSA PreCheck for non-binary travelers who are worried about receiving pat downs. Though pat downs are sometimes used to eliminate security concerns, even in the PreCheck line, they often occur after a body scanner senses an unusual object. By skipping the scanners, you can reduce your risk of being frisked and potentially misgendered.