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Don't Classify As A Man Or A Woman? This Airline Gives You Other Boxes To Tick

The air carrier is the first American airline to offer non-binary gender options on all booking channels.

United's customers can now identify themselves as M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding with their passports or ID.

"United is determined to lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity, and we are so proud to be the first US airline to offer these inclusive booking options for our customers," United's Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist said in a statement.

The company has also joined forces with non-profit organisations The Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project to initiate relevant employee training.

READ MORE: New York Allows Gender 'X' On Birth Certificates Without Doctor Approval

READ MORE: Intersex People Win Legal Rights With New 'Diverse' Category

The initiatives include teaching employees about preferred pronouns and the persistence of gender norms, LGBT competency in the workplace and other steps to make United an inclusive space for both customers and employees.

"We're thrilled to bring Trevor's expertise on the mental health of LGBTQ people to United to ensure its employees maintain safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ employees and guests," said Amit Paley, CEO of The Trevor Project.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson told 10 daily the airline is investigating similar booking options for customers.

"We are currently investigating the technical requirements that would be needed to enable a non-binary gender option for bookings made via the Virgin Australia website."

Qantas is "slightly different" to American airlines in that they don't ask customers to indicate if they're male or female when booking a flight, a spokesperson said.

“But we do require them to choose a salutation like Mr, Miss, Dr etc and don’t currently have an option for people who do not identity as male or female," the spokesperson told 10 daily.

“The new IATA guidelines come in from June this year and we will look to align with the industry. It will take some time to sort out the implementation given the variety of different systems we use.”

Last year, Qantas told staff to avoid “gender inappropriate” terms in a company information pack sent out ahead of their Spirit of Inclusion month.

Employees were advised to stop using words like 'husband', 'wife', 'mum' and 'dad' with customers that might be offensive to LGBTQI couples.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson told 10 daily the airline is looking into providing similar options as United. Image: Getty.

Air New Zealand recently announced it was looking at introducing non-binary gender options across its "digital environments".

Gender isn't a required field when booking online with Air New Zealand currently, but only male and female are listed as options. Passengers are required to include a title on their bookings, most of which are gendered.

Almost two percent of people are intersex -- born with sex characteristics neither definitively male or female -- according to the United Nations.

In addition, studies suggest more people are identifying as transgender or non-binary -- when a person identifies as neither exclusively male or female.

Australia's 2016 Census was the first time statistics were collected on sex and gender diversity in the country.

Studies suggest more people are identifying as trans or non-binary, which is when a person identifies as neither exclusively male or female. Image: Getty.

Almost 1300 gender diverse people (220 of them non-binary) were counted in the Census but it was “not considered accurate”, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

“(This is) due to limitations around the special procedures and willingness or opportunity to report as sex and/or gender diverse,” the ABS website states.

“People who have been treated with disrespect, abuse and discrimination because of their sex or gender may be unwilling to reveal their sex in an official document.”

Contact the author: samelia@networkten.com.au.