The Port of Seattle is committed to ensuring that all travelers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) feel respected, comfortable and welcome. Learn more about what services and amenities are available for transgender, non binary, gender nonconforming travelers coming through SEA Airport.
Travelers should feel free to use whichever restroom matches your gender presentation or feel free to use restrooms marked either “family restrooms” or “individual restrooms.” SEA Airport has individual gender-inclusive restrooms for your use available on our interactive map.
Screening for departing passengers is conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) below are their tips for transgender, non binary, gender nonconforming travelers:
Prior to the Airport
Medical equipment and prosthetics will be allowed through the TSA checkpoint, but some travelers may feel more comfortable putting these things in checked baggage. Gel-filled prosthetic items such as breast forms are not included in the three-ounce liquid limit for carry-ons, but their presence in your carry-on luggage may result in extra screening. Any medications should be placed in a separate bag in your carry-on luggage; it is very helpful to have proof of the medical necessity of the item(s), such as a doctor’s letter or pharmacy packaging that includes a prescription label.
If you think you might be required to undergo additional screening, one option for discreetly communicating with TSA personnel is to use a preprinted “Notification Card” to disclose a particular personal item, medical condition, or other information. The TSA has made a template for this card available that TSA agents will immediately recognize.
All passengers 18 years of age or older are required to provide proof of identity at check-in and at the security checkpoint. TSA rules require that you provide your name, gender, and date of birth when making an airline reservation. The name, gender, and date of birth included in your reservation must match the government-issued photo ID you will provide at the airport. If you have different names or genders listed on different ID, bring photo ID that matches your reservation. It does not matter whether your current gender presentation matches the gender marker on your ID or your presentation in your ID photo, and TSA officers should not comment on this. Read additional information about identification.
Screening Procedures for Children
The TSA has adopted modified screening procedures for passengers under age 12 that include:
- Allowing them to leave their shoes on
- Using a wand to detect chemical traces in lieu of a pat-down
- Undergoing a modified and less-intrusive pat-down under the observation of their parents if necessary
You may request a private screening or to speak to a supervisor at any time during the security screening process. Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion of the traveler’s choice.
TSA Precheck Enhancements
Beginning in April 2022, a TSA PreCheck applicant can select the gender they would like saved in their TSA PreCheck record simply by selecting “M” or “F” during the enrollment / renewal process. The gender selected does not need to match the gender on supporting documentation, such as birth certificate, passport, or state-issued ID. In addition, a current TSA PreCheck member may call (855) 347-8371 weekdays, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, to request a change of the gender selected with the TSA PreCheck Application Program. You may also submit your inquiry online.
TSA PreCheck is also working to include an “X” gender marker option on its application to ensure the TSA PreCheck program accurately reflects traveler gender and keeps pace with identity documents that offer the “X” gender marker option. TSA expects this update to be complete by the end of this year.
Please note, updating your gender with PreCheck is not required to receive TSA PreCheck screening. You will receive PreCheck screening even if your current gender differs from the gender you provided when you enrolled or renewed in TSA PreCheck, as long as the name on your reservation matches the name and date of birth on record with TSA. FAQs can be found at the TSA PreCheck Frequently Asked Questions.
Making Your Air Travel Reservations
When making a reservation, please use the same name and date of birth indicated on your government-issued ID. We also encourage you to provide the gender indicated on your government-issued ID. TSA recommends that travelers whose gender marker on their government-issued ID is not offered in the air carrier’s reservation system, to contact that air carrier’s customer service department. TSA continues to work closely with our domestic air-carrier partners to promote the use and acceptance of the “X” gender marker.” Currently, two major domestic air carriers already offer “X” or undisclosed gender options in their travel-reservation systems, with a third air carrier offering the same in the fall of 2022.
Contacting TSA in Advance
Prior to a flight, you may contact the TSA Cares helpline at (855) 787-2227 with questions about screening policies and procedures, as well as what to expect as you proceed through the security checkpoint. You may request the assistance of a Passenger Support Specialist, who will provide assistance through the security screening process.
While at the Airport
Travel Document Checker
At the checkpoint, present your government-issued identification and boarding pass to the TSA officer who will ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and that the name shown on each document is exactly the same. If the name shown on the identification document does not exactly match the name on the boarding pass, you may need to go to your airline ticket counter for a new boarding pass.
TSA has updated its checkpoint procedures to remove gender considerations when validating a traveler’s identification at airport security checkpoints. When travelers appear at the travel-document checker podium for identity verification, gender information is not considered. Go to Security Screening Identification for more information.
Inform the TSA Officer
All baggage – both checked baggage and carry-on baggage – must go through the screening process. For carry-on baggage - inform the TSA officer if you have medically necessary liquids and/or medications, medical equipment, and/or prostheses, and separate them from other belongings before screening begins. If a bag must be opened by an officer to resolve an alarm, you may ask that the bag be opened and inspected in private.
Physical Screening Procedures
Passenger screening at the airport is part of TSA’s layered approach to security to get you safely to your destination. Read about various screening measures in place to secure aviation.
The AIT Screening Process:
You will be screened by Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), a walk-through metal detector (WTMD), and/or a pat-down procedure. Currently, TSA’s AIT units utilize software that relies on gender-specific algorithms and a generic physical outline of the human body that is identical for all passengers. When you enter the imaging portal, the TSA officer will press a button designating your gender as male or female based on the TSA officer’s assessment of how you present. The equipment then conducts a scan and indicates areas on the body warranting further screening, if necessary.
If there is an alarm, a TSA officer may show you, on a screen, where the alarm is present. Additional screening, including a pat-down procedure, may be conducted to determine whether a prohibited item is present.
AIT Technology Enhancements and Updated Screening Procedures:
TSA identified an opportunity to enhance our existing AIT security effectiveness capabilities and simultaneously implement a gender-neutral algorithm. In coordination with the system manufacturer, TSA is in the process of testing this new algorithm. This change will benefit all travelers, including transgender, nonbinary, and other gender-nonconforming travelers who previously have been required to undergo additional screening due to alarms in sensitive areas. Upon completion of successful testing, TSA anticipates initiating deployment of the technology enhancement to airports later this year.
Beginning in May 2022, TSA is also updating its screening procedures to better serve transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming travelers through less invasive screening procedures for passengers who trigger the AIT scanner in a sensitive area. This change will reduce the number of pat downs for TSOs and the travelling public without compromising security, and will be in effect until the gender-neutral AIT screening technology is deployed. You may ask for a supervisor at any point during the AIT screening process.
If there is a screening alarm by technology (i.e., AIT, WTMD), or if you opt-out of screening by technology, a pat-down procedure is performed, and is generally conducted by an officer that is the same gender as the TSA officer’s assessment of how you present. Alternatively, you may choose to inform the officer of your gender identity and make a request that the pat-down be conducted by an officer of that gender.
Screening can be conducted in the checkpoint area, or you may request to have a pat-down in private and be accompanied by a companion of your choice. You may bring your carry-on baggage to the private screening area and may request a chair to sit if needed. You will not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal sensitive body areas. You may be asked to adjust loose fitting clothing by the TSA officer doing the pat-down procedure. For additional information about the pat-down, see Security Screening. Please also see additional guidance for on body prostheses.
Discrimination at the Airport
If you feel you have experienced discrimination, you have the right to file a complaint. Here are two ways to do that.
1. File a Complaint Online
Both the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have separate civil rights offices that accept complaints of discriminatory treatment by TSA. You may file a complaint with one or both offices at the web sites below:
- File this form for complaints with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
- File this form for filing complaints with the TSA Office for Civil Rights and Liberty
We encourage you to file complaints immediately after the incident (or as soon as you can), and provide as many details as possible, including:
- the name of the airport
- the screening location within the airport
- the date and time of the incident
- a list of people involved.
2. File a Complaint via App
FlyRights is a free app available for iPhone and Android smartphones that enables you to to immediately file a report of discrimination with TSA and DHS. Learn more about FlyRights.