Turbulent Times for Transgender Travelers

Published Date Author: , June 1st, 2014

Transgender FlagFor two years, 27-year-old Reilley Clemens hadn’t gone home. Not because she didn’t have the money or the will to travel, but because she feared what she might experience at the airport. Clemens, a women’s studies graduate student of the University of Florida, is transgender. And for trans people, airline travel – which is already a hassle for any gender – can become a complicated, frightening proposition, especially when it comes to security checks.

“Who’s going to perform the search? Where’s it going to be performed? I feel like someone would mistreat me or something would happen,” Clemens said. “There’d be an awkward pause where I’d have to explain that I’m trans.”

In the trans community, it’s understood procedures at airports are overly invasive and, at times, uncomfortable. Transgender people can experience problems if their appearance does not match the picture or gender identified on their identification. Ryan Nowak-Crawford, an 18-year-old undergraduate at the University of Southern California, said it’s not systematic discrimination, but it could potentially lead to discrimination. “Having the security person check you can make a trans person very uncomfortable,” Crawford said. “If that particular security official had something against trans people, it could make your life difficult.”

By Nicole Wiesenthal – Edge Boston

Comments reader  2 Reader Comments

Cheryl Courtney-Evans - Gravatar

www.abitchforjustice.com Cheryl Courtney-Evans said on June 1, 2014, 12:54 pm:

Travel for transgender individuals has become much easier, thanks to the present administration. Executive order has determined that transgender individuals have only to request gender marker change on their passports, as well as BE SEARCHED (IF NEEDED) BY THE TSA AGENT OF THE GENDER THEY ARE DISPLAYING/EXPRESSING…if any different procedure is attempted to be practiced, one may complain to whoever the managing party is (I have personally made at least 4 trips by plane since, and have had NO problems)…

Monica S Harmon - Gravatar

Monica S Harmon said on June 1, 2014, 1:02 pm:

The vert reason why I have not traveled to Washington State to see my Daughter and family, and have to fly them here. This year my Id’s will be changed and reflect my true identity so I can travel./

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