Airport Security Tips For Transgender Travelers


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Airport Security Tips For Transgender Travelers

ThinkProgress

With many people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, the National Center for Transgender Equality has released a new list of tips to help those who are transgender or gender non-conforming avoid mistreatment or humiliation while processing through...

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I think airport security is a pretty demeaning experience for everyone, trans* and cis* alike. You ain't seen nothing 'till you go through Heathrow Terminal 5. Think, Blade Runner meets 1984.

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Well...I've never been through Heathrow, but I've been through Philadelphia International. And while Philadelphians can be pretty damn curt... going through PHL can make the most happy-go-lucky person wanna kill someone. And I don't mean just TSA agents. Seems like everyone that works in PHL went to Nazi University!

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I will be flying cross-country round trip for a week home at Xmas. Thanks for posting this. On a very recent trip, a male agent patted me down after the body scanner detected metal. At the end, he asked, "What are you wearing there?" He had no response when I replied, "My bra, of course."

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I think airport security is a pretty demeaning experience for everyone, trans* and cis* alike. You ain't seen nothing 'till you go through Heathrow Terminal 5. Think, Blade Runner meets 1984.

​I fully agree with this.  I think it's always been an extra layer of hell for Nikki vs. me though even during his most male phase, because of having to submit to a usually older male authority figure touching him.  We got flagged the year after 9/11 with those random super search these people stars on our way to a cruise, and it got ridiculous in general, but exteremely uncomfortable for a violence survivor like him.

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Try and remember that most screeners  really are just trying to do their job, as hard as is to believe that.  And, those that encounter a Trans* traveler have probably never met one on (or off) the job, and really have no idea how to react...and this under the pressure of an active screening point, which means move 'em, move 'em, move 'em.  So while I agree that all travelers have a right to a dignified travel experience, and should immediately call for a supervisor if treated otherwise, keep in mind that the screener you find at the checkpoint just might want to get you through his or her station just as fast as you want to go through it.  

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Try and remember that most screeners  really are just trying to do their job, as hard as is to believe that.  And, those that encounter a Trans* traveler have probably never met one on (or off) the job, and really have no idea how to react...and this under the pressure of an active screening point, which means move 'em, move 'em, move 'em.  So while I agree that all travelers have a right to a dignified travel experience, and should immediately call for a supervisor if treated otherwise, keep in mind that the screener you find at the checkpoint just might want to get you through his or her station just as fast as you want to go through it.  

​From what I've been reading though, the TSA is supposed to have a process in place for trans people that have to fly and most of the screeners seem to have no idea what that process actually is unfortunately.

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Try and remember that most screeners  really are just trying to do their job, as hard as is to believe that.  And, those that encounter a Trans* traveler have probably never met one on (or off) the job, and really have no idea how to react...and this under the pressure of an active screening point, which means move 'em, move 'em, move 'em.  So while I agree that all travelers have a right to a dignified travel experience, and should immediately call for a supervisor if treated otherwise, keep in mind that the screener you find at the checkpoint just might want to get you through his or her station just as fast as you want to go through it.  

​From what I've been reading though, the TSA is supposed to have a process in place for trans people that have to fly and most of the screeners seem to have no idea what that process actually is unfortunately.

​It can be extremely bad for cisgender violence survivors too, and I think there is often a lack of clear cut policy in dealing with them either.  Or if there is, the agents often don't know it by how often I have to comfort a few people after they fly.

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"Try and remember that most screeners  really are just trying to do their job, as hard as is to believe that.  And, those that encounter a Trans* traveler have probably never met one on (or off) the job, and really have no idea how to react..."  -- Christine

This is probably true.  However, there's a big difference in not knowing how to react, and being out-and-out hateful or rude.  I realize they aren't the most congenial of people when doing their job, but have personally experienced a complete shift in character by TSA agents who were laughing and talking with passengers who went before me.  When I stepped up, I got glared at, my ticket and ID snatched from my hand, and shoved at me when being returned.  That's not confusion.  That's hate, intolerance, etc...

-Michael

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