Flying While Trans

I know, totally sounds like a superpower or something. Like a side effect of experimental HRT…and then our superhero/ine can fly and walk through walls, as well as developing new secondary sex characteristics.

But anyway, my original point was that unfortunately, this is not the case. In fact, flying while trans involves some serious strife, as elucidated by this article from feministing. The TSA keeps making everyone’s life hard, and transpeople “disproportionately targeted for questioning and pat-downs as a result of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policies that lead to us being ‘outed’ as trans.”

the only two genders: pink and blue

They have these great body scan devices where they have to enter the gender of the traveler. There are only two options, of course. Also, since the “pat-downs” are supposed to be performed by people of the “same” gender as the traveler, something that seems to be minimally respected with trans travelers. And, they’re adding an element called a “chat down,”  in which “[a]gents will be looking for signs of nervousness and concealment.” Obviously, a trans person could easily be targeted for this kind of thing, since why wouldn’t we feel nervous in a place that so obviously doesn’t respect gender variance?

All this is adding up to a pretty bleak picture, if you ask me. I really like how feministing summed it up:

“The TSA has been loving discriminatory “security” measures since 9/11, when the agency instated policies targeting people seen as Muslim or Arab. The requirement that you gender presentation match the gender on your ID was especially frightening for trans folks. Clearly, the trans community isn’t the only group of marginalized folks being unfairly treated, but we’re one of the groups facing the brunt of the security state. ”

I also think it’s worth pointing out that these policies are demeaning to TSA workers who may be trans allies or trans people themselves, and are forced to enforce gender binaries on people they should be able to express solidarity for. Just another example about how inequality is a bummer for everyone, not only its direct victims.

In any case, the National Center for Transgender Equality has got your back. They have a sweet page that both calls for policy change and gives you some tips on how to fly under the radar, as it were.


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