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April 29, 2022

Gender Check-the-Box Options Are Expanded on Federal Forms

by Marie-Joëlle C. Khouzam, Esq., Bricker & Eckler LLP

Effective March 31, President Biden announced a number of changes designed to remove barriers faced by transgender Americans. These changes include modifying certain federal forms that require an applicant to choose “male” or “female” in order to complete the form.

The new forms will enable transgender persons to select an “X” as their gender marker if they choose.

The key changes that may affect employers include:

  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission changes – The EEOC will allow persons filing charges of discrimination to select an “X” gender marker on the voluntary self-identification intake questions.
  • Social Security – By fall 2022, the Social Security Administration will remove the requirement that transgender people show proof of identity, such as doctor’s notes, in order to update their gender information in their social security record. This is expected to facilitate accessing retirement benefits, obtaining health care and applying for jobs.
  • Student financial aid – The Department of Education will propose that, beginning with the 2023-24 FAFSA cycle, applicants may indicate their gender identity as well as their race/ethnicity when applying for federal financial aid. The questions will first be posted for public comment. The goal is to use this privacy-protected information to inform the department about possible barriers that students, including transgender and non-binary students, face in the financial aid process.
  • Passport applications –The state department will begin offering the “X” gender marker option.

Other changes implemented by this announcement include modifying TSA procedures by replacing the current gender-based pat-down system with updated technology. In tandem with this, the Department of Homeland Security will also add the “X” gender marker option in the Trusted Traveler and TSA PreCheck programs to enhance access for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming travelers enrolled in these programs. Several airlines have also updated their reservations systems to offer the “X” gender marker designation.

The federal government will continue to evaluate how best to obtain information that will accurately reflect the transgender community in data collection sets.

Reprinted with permission from Bricker & Eckler, LLP. See the original article here.

The federal government will continue to evaluate how best to obtain information that will accurately reflect the transgender community in data collection sets.