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Delta says non-binary customer can only wing as “male or female” despite valid ID & documents

Delta says non-binary customer can only fly as “male or female” despite valid ID & documents

Update: Delta Air Lines told LGBTQ Nation in a statement that they are “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.” They have stated that they “have begun the process of updating our booking systems” to offer a non-binary gender option, which they expect “to be available to customers during the fourth quarter of 2022.” Our story has been revised to reflect Delta’s statement.
The mother to a non-binary customer attempting to fly with Delta Air Lines alleges the airline is discriminating against them, after she was unable to buy a plane ticket for them unless they inaccurately marked their gender as “male” or “female” while purchasing the ticket, despite the person having a valid identification with an “X” marker and a birth certificate also with an “X” gender marker.
“@Delta is discriminating against #nonbinary individuals and not allowing them to fly despite legal ID issued by states that allow X on birth certificates and state-issued IDs,” the mother alleged in a now-viral thread of tweets posted on January 6.
“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,” the mother, Aurora Dawn, wrote. “I first discovered this problem when trying to make an online reservation to buy a ticket as a Christmas present for my #nonbinary adult child. The only gender options in @Delta and @AlaskaAir online reservation systems is male or female.”
Following TSA directions to call the airlines directly, she called Delta to make the reservation, but a representative told her that “she was unable to change the gender designation to X,” and that the ticket must have male or female gender designations. After explaining that her child is non-binary and their birth certificate has an “X” gender marker as does their identification, the representative put her on hold.
Then, “a @Delta supervisor in Atlanta came on the line and told me that their system only uses male/female and I can only use one of those. I explained again that my adult child is #nonbinary and #LGBTQ and their ID is X and TSA requires them to match,” she wrote.
“The @Delta supervisor got short with me and said, sorry, that’s the policy,” with the supervisor adding that she believes “that is not discriminatory, it’s just their policy.” Dawn responds, “Then the policy is discriminatory.” She hung up, unable to get the plane ticket from Delta, and unable to find another airline offering flights on the same route for a similar price that recognizes non-binary identification.
“And even if I could find an airline that would issue a ticket with the correct X gender, @Delta was the least expensive,” she pointed out. “Why should a #nonbinary #LGBTQ person have to pay MORE in order to be allowed to fly?… that’s discrimination.”
@Delta is discriminating against #nonbinary individuals and not allowing them to fly despite legal ID issued by states that allow X on birth certificates and state-issued IDs. This thread is the ongoing saga of me trying to purchase a ticket for my non-binary adult child. 1/x
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

I first discovered this problem when trying to make an online reservation to buy a ticket as a Christmas present for my #nonbinary adult child. The only gender options in @Delta and @AlaskaAir online reservation systems is male or female. 3/x #LGBTQ
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

Today I called @Delta to make the reservation. The rep who answered my call was really trying to help, but she was unable to change the gender designation to X. I explained what TSA had told me about the #nonbinary designation. I was put on hold. 5/x #LGBTQ
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

After some time on hold, a @Delta supervisor in Atlanta came on the line and told me that their system only uses male/female and I can only use one of those. I explained again that my adult child is #nonbinary and #LGBTQ and their ID is X and TSA requires them to match. 7/x
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

The @Delta supervisor got short with me and said, sorry, that’s the policy. I said, are you telling me you aren’t allowing my #nonbinary #LGBTQ kid who has a perfectly legal state-issued ID to fly? 8/x
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

She said no, I’m not saying that, it’s just the policy at @Delta. I pointed out it has that effect if TSA requires matching documents and there’s no way to buy a ticket with a gender that matches the state-issued #nonbinary gender on the ID. #LGBTQ 9/x
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

The @Delta supervisor again said sorry, that’s our policy. I replied that this is discriminatory. She said (talking loudly over me) that is not discriminatory, it’s just their policy. I said, Then the policy is discriminatory. #nonbinary #LGBTQ 10/x
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

She cited a 2018 article published by INTO reporting that Delta pledged to “we are exploring options to be even more inclusive of non-binary customers with a non-binary gender option during the booking process.”
In 2019, Delta reported to NBC News, and confirmed to the Daily Beast, they were “planning to offer a non-binary gender option during the booking process… to accommodate the needs of diverse customers throughout our business.”
@Delta, you knew of this issue and need FOUR YEARS ago. So why can’t I buy a ticket for my #nonbinary adult child? Not online, and not even over the phone. #LGBTQ 17/x
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

@Delta‘s policy against issuing tickets to #nonbinary #LGBTQ people with X gender markers on their legal ID results in discriminatory treatment and is just bad business. Please help me share this message. 19/19 https://t.co/XNf59KlQIK
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 6, 2022

Delta has previously received criticism for how other LGBTQ customers have been treated in recent years.
In October, the airline announced that flight attendants would begin to make gender-neutral introductions during on-board announcements, like “hello everyone” as opposed to “ladies and gentlemen.” The airline said at the time, “Promoting inclusion throughout the travel journey is core to creating a safe, comfortable and respectful space for all of our customers and employees.”
More and more states and locales across the United States have begun offering gender markers that aren’t male or female in recent years. According to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), 21 states and the District of Columbia allow for “X” markers on driver’s licenses and IDs, covering about 45 percent of the American LGBTQ population -and all states and U.S. territories have some form of process allowing people to change their gender markers, although all are not easy.
15 states allow “X” markers on birth certificates, but 14 states and Guam require proof of gender-affirming surgery before they allow people to change their gender marker, while three states do not allow changes under any circumstances.
While domestic flights in the United States do not require passports, the State Department under President Joe Biden (D) has begun to make it possible for Americans to get gender-neutral “X” markers on their passports and other federal identification. This is in accordance with a 2019 ruling issued by a federal judge directing the State Dept. to give Dana Zzyym, an intersex person, a passport accurately reflecting their identity. Zzyym received the first passport with an “X” marker under gender identification was issued in October 2021.
From 1977 until that point, the Department of State only issued passports with an “M” or “F” gender marker. Prior to 1977, U.S. passports didn’t have gender markers on them at all.
Regardless of how you feel about this, a legal State ID with X should be accepted by airlines. Gender identity is a protect class under the Civil Rights Act. Period.
– Aurora Dawn (@truth_trumps) January 8, 2022

Lawmakers, including out Colorado Rep. Brianna Titone (D), and other LGBTQ community members and advocates such as Charlotte Clymer tweeted about Delta’s alleged actions.
Hey @Delta – I’m non-binary and flew you TODAY. I haven’t updated my ID’s yet though. When I do, am I banned from being your customer?
This mess has lawsuit all over it. https://t.co/GXJXNpMTt8
– Racheline Maltese (@racheline_m) January 6, 2022

.@Delta needs to get with the program. Gender marker X has been available for years now. Change your system and accommodate these passengers, now. #nonbinary https://t.co/uvkrP0silL
– Rep Brianna Titone – COHD27 (@BriannaForCO) January 6, 2022

@Delta 2 years ago while in the Transportation Committee I voted to pass NH state liscenses to allow an X for nonbinary citizens. This law is now in effect. Are you telling me you’re going to deny my people the right to travel based on their legal ID? @ACLU this is discrimination https://t.co/n1OTlgHeHq
– Rep. Nicole Klein Knight (@RepNicoleK) January 8, 2022

Hey @Delta, this is completely ridiculous. Why are non-binary travelers with their updated legal identification being denied flights on your airline? If they have the appropriate ID gender marker as legally recognized by their state government, isn’t this now your problem to fix? https://t.co/k9jR933B8X
– Charlotte Clymer (@cmclymer) January 6, 2022

See? Look how easy this is. @AmericanAir did it and had no issues. Why can’t you do this?https://t.co/7qgoqn4Ye3
– Charlotte Clymer (@cmclymer) January 6, 2022

Wait wait wait wait… @Delta, this says you agreed to do this in 2019, along with the other major airlines. What happened? https://t.co/5sHLc2gBie pic.twitter.com/VT7Qq5Mv3l
– Charlotte Clymer (@cmclymer) January 6, 2022

Delta did not respond to Dawn’s tweets on Twitter, but told LGBTQ Nation in a statement, “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.
“As such, we have begun the process of updating our booking systems to be more inclusive by offering a non-binary gender option. We expect this option to be available to customers during the fourth quarter of 2022.”

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