Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Airlines Waiting for Guidance from Ottawa over X Gender Option

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Airlines Waiting for Guidance from Ottawa over X Gender Option

Article excerpt

Canadian airlines await clarity on gender options


Canada's largest airlines are awaiting details from the federal government before they follow their U.S. counterparts in allowing travellers to choose gender designations outside the traditional "male" and "female" check-in categories.

Major U.S. airlines said last week they will change their ticketing process so that passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines, representing a victory for advocates of transgender recognition.

That change comes after a pair of major trade groups -- the International Air Transport Association and Airlines for America -- approved updated standards to allow member airlines to offer two new gender options: "unspecified" or "unidentified."

In 2017, Ottawa announced that travellers will be able to specify their gender with an "X" on their passport, instead of "F" for female or "M" for male.

The website for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says the change is coming "soon." Until then, passengers can request an "observation text" free of charge on their passport that notes their sex should be marked as "X," said Mathieu Genest, press secretary to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

"IRCC is working diligently to introduce the 'X' gender identifier in its official documents," Genest said in an email.

The National Airlines Council of Canada, which represents Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and other companies, told The Canadian Press Monday that members are "awaiting developments and details" on the plan before altering their check-in systems.

U.S.-based airlines American, Delta and United confirmed Friday they are in the process of updating their booking tools to add less conventional gender categories, such as "Mx.'' or "undisclosed," implementing them in the next several weeks.

The airlines are making the check-in change despite resistance to non-binary passport options from the U.S. State Department. …

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