A mother is furious with Delta Air Lines after she was unable to buy a plane ticket for her nonbinary child as a result of the airline’s lack of gender options on its digital system.
Dawn Henry, a 52-year-old mother from Arizona, criticized Delta in a Twitter thread last week that eventually went viral, noting in her rant that the airline currently only features options for male and female. She said when she reached out to Delta regarding its gender policy after she was unable to purchase a surprise plane ticket for her adult child, a supervisor with the airline redirected her to the company policy that only specifies two gender options.
“As 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.”
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Henry’s 21-year-old child identifies as nonbinary, meaning they have an “X” mark on their birth certificate and driver’s license. According to GLAAD, a transgender person who identifies as nonbinary does not identify exclusively as either male or female.
In 2019, as more states began to legally recognize nonbinary individuals on identification documents, Delta – along with several other major U.S. airlines – announced it would be updating its booking methods so that nonbinary passengers had options. Two of the biggest airlines and competitors of Delta, American and United, currently have drop-down menus during their booking process that are inclusive for nonbinary travelers. Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue, like Delta, do not yet offer options outside of male or female.
Henry told NBS News on the matter: “I am committed to fixing this, not just for my child, but for everyone who holds legal ID with an X gender marker. My hope is that pressure on the airlines (not just Delta, but the others that have not updated their systems) will get this done.”
Delta said in a statement that a new policy was on the way in 2022. “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 statement, provided to NBC News, read. “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.”
“I am glad they are finally promising to follow through on a commitment they made four years ago, but a promise is not enough,” Henry said. “I will not stop pursuing this until every U.S. Airline with a discriminatory reservation system has made the long-overdue changes.”