We talked a little bit about the new TSA screening procedures a few weeks ago but haven’t really gotten into it since — it’s sort of been hanging out over there with Wikileaks as something we should maybe be covering just because it seems to matter deeply but we are not really sure how to.
But in The Vancouver Xtra! on Thursday, Ivan Coyote’s “Flying While Butch” gets into the debate in a way that I really liked a lot so LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
In the summer of 2009, when the US Transportation Security Administration enacted new requirements for its passenger identification system, Coyote was concerned about its focus on the passport holder’s current appearance matching every element of the passport — including gender. Her fears were well founded:
Since then I have had my gender questioned or at least eyebrowed at least five times by mostly airline personnel while checking in, and one strip search (which Homeland Security assured me was random).
When the TSA’s new requirements were announced last month, Coyote says, “it got so much worse.”
Coyote goes on to lay out a pretty much perfect/completely persuasive argument against the new TSA Screening Procedures because of how it makes traveling specifically uncomfortable for ambiguously gendered peoples or anyone who presents outside of the strict gender binary.
But despite her opposition, she’s not going to stop traveling to ALL OF THE PLACES (probably to lead a pack of wild wolves through the Montana wilderness or ride around on some kind of super-sled that climbs mountains all along the California coast or read some poetry at the Seattle Womyn’s Center or just stand around in her leather jacket looking badass):
If I wasn’t such a stubborn road dog with an almost belligerent love of going where I want no matter what, in love with more than 100 foreign cities, I would simply swear off air travel right now. But I refuse. I will not allow them to control me. Especially not by the use of fear and state-enforced gender conformity.
Then she gives you tips on how to deal. Not on how to fight properly with your parents about it, but how to work with the system because really now, why not make your life easier? I mean, life is so fucking hard, even when it’s easy:
I am just going to offer up a few strategies, and encourage anyone who has other tricks to add to this list to share them, so we can all help each other travel safely and with as little trauma and inconvenience as possible.