Here’s an interesting TruthOut article on the impact that biometric scanning has had on trans people and others whose gender presentations don’t “match” their physical body.
This story is about people, not their anatomy, except that in the case of airport scanners, this last vestige of individual privacy is on the table. Transgender people’s experiences vary as widely as the human mind and body, but trans communities have mapped out some common ground in language, experience and even documents such as the Transgender Law Center’s (TLC) fact sheet, Trans 101. The title might be considered a nod to the ad hoc teaching gig some trans people are thrust into simply by virtue of their identities – Is that your real name? Did you have a sex change? Why should I let you onto this flight? – and for a two-page crash course, it goes a long way in dispelling gendered assumptions that underlie security measures like body scanners and Secure Flight.
According to TLC, “Transgender people (very broadly conceived) are those of us whose gender identity and/or expression that does not or is perceived to not match stereotypical gender norms associated with our assigned gender at birth…. Some [transgender people] take hormones but have no surgery or vice versa. Some take low-doses of hormones or go on and off. For some trans people, altering genitalia is important. For others, it is not.”
I’ve written previously about the most recent information about traveling while trans, but this is a sobering report.
Cool new information about Traveling While Trans when it comes to the TSA and security. Amongst other things:
Private Screening: Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion of the traveler’s choosing. A traveler may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process.
Travel Document Checker: The traveler will show their government-issued identification and boarding pass to an officer to ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and match. Transgender travelers are encouraged to book their reservations such that they match the gender and name data indicated on the government-issued ID.
I am quite pleased to see the use of the term “prosthetic” – by which they mean, if you weren’t sure, things like breast forms and packers. Of course NCTE has more information, and follow-up on the info TSA has provided.
As transgender people and our families prepare to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, many have expressed concern about the various new invasive equipment and procedures at the airport announced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
NCTE opposes the routine use of full-body scanners and the new invasive patdown procedures. We have and will continue to work with the TSA to minimize privacy intrusions and ensure respectful treatment of transgender travelers.
We want all of our members and friends to have safe and uneventful travel this season; here are some ideas and information to help you do that.
First, it is important that you KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Even if TSA personnel are not always familiar with travelers’ rights, such as the right to decline a full-body scan, you should know them. You may need to politely inform the officer of your rights and choices.
Second, calmly and clearly expressing your choices is very important. This makes it easier for the TSA agents to understand what your needs are and may help you get through the checkpoint more quickly.
WHAT IS NEW
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