Dawn Henry Arizona mom slams Delta Airlines over non binary gender options in booking ticket options followed by other major airliners and set forth by TSA. Calls out airliner as discriminatory.
An Arizona mother has singled out Delta Airlines after saying she was unable to buy a plane ticket for her ‘non binary’ child due to the airliner only offering male or female ‘gender’ options in their booking process.
In a Twitter thread Thursday, Dawn Henry, 52, said she was trying to buy a surprise plane ticket for her adult child when she discovered Delta only provides male and female gender options. Henry’s 21-year-old child is nonbinary, meaning they identify as neither exclusively male nor female, and they have an “X” gender marker on their birth certificate and Washington state driver’s license.
This incident comes three years after Delta and other major U.S. airlines announced they would update their booking tools to be inclusive of nonbinary passengers. At least two of those other airlines — American and United — already provide a drop-down menu during the booking process that is inclusive of nonbinary travelers.
While Henry said she is still frustrated by the situation, she hopes speaking out will spark changes across the airline industry.
‘I am committed to fixing this, not just for my child, but for everyone who holds legal ID with an X gender marker,’ Henry told NBC News in a Twitter message. ‘My hope is that pressure on the airlines (not just Delta, but the others that have not updated their systems) will get this done.’
Some context: TSA requires that the boarding pass reservation match your state issued ID. TSA accepts X as a gender marker on state IDs. The problem isn’t with TSA. The problem is airlines, like @Delta and @AlaskaAir #nonbinary 2/x #LGBTQ
— ⚖️Aurora Dawn⚖️ 💪🏻🌊🌈💜 (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022
TSA mandates gender matching with government id be used when booking
After Henry reached out to Delta about its lack of gender options, a Delta supervisor pointed her to the company’s policy, which only recognizes male and female genders, Henry said.
‘But as it stands, at least with @Delta, #nonbinary people are not allowed to fly,’ Henry tweeted. ‘The supervisor said that’s not true. But when a policy makes it impossible to buy a ticket that will comport with TSA guidelines, the result is the same. And that’s discrimination.’
The Transportation Security Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that oversees travel security, advises travelers to ‘use the same name, gender and birth date as indicated on your government-issued ID’ and states that a TSA officer ‘will ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and match’ at the security checkpoint, according to the TSA website.
‘Gender identity is protected under the Civil Rights Act. How is @Delta’s disparate treatment in refusing to issue a ticket with the correct TSA-required legal #nonbinary gender marker legal?’ Henry asked.
When asked about Delta’s lack of a nonbinary gender option and why one was not added shortly after the 2019 announcement, a company spokesperson said it is not an easy fix and requires the involvement of multiple departments. The representative did, however, say the addition would arrive sometime this year.
‘Delta Air Lines is a proud, long-time supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and we understand that being seen and acknowledged is part of having an equitable travel experience,’ the spokesperson said in a statement. ‘While we quickly shifted focus due to COVID in early 2020 to helping customers navigate the rapidly changing environment and government regulations, we are back on track to be able to offer a non-binary gender option in our booking systems in 2022.’
Henry said she is not seeking legal action against Delta.
‘I am glad they are finally promising to follow through on a commitment they made four years ago, but a promise is not enough,’ she told NBC News, while noting that the company has not reached out to her directly.
‘I will not stop pursuing this until every U.S. Airline with a discriminatory reservation system has made the long-overdue changes,’ she told NBC News.
New York and New Jersey are among over a dozen states that legally recognize nonbinary people on identification documents.