Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thoughts on Travel - and some advice


Before Trump's election, I didn't worry too much about taking a trip en-femme. Since Trump's election, I have started to worry a lot, as his administration has removed much of the information useful to the GLBT community from Federal government web sites, and that his Vice President (a religious zealot) is looking for the chance to cause us harm.

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Lili has been urging me to commit to taking another cruise with her. And if a Democrat was in the Oval Office, I wouldn't have any worries about it, as I've crossed the border en-femme before. Now, I wonder what other transgender folk will be going through if Pence becomes president (after a possible removal of Trump via the 25th amendment) and am a little antsy about planning for the next trip.  

Instead of staying worried about things, I decided to contact someone prominent in the GLBT community and ask her if she's noticed anything different lately. Not being sure of when (or if) a response might come, it makes sense to proceed with caution. One blogger I read regularly travels en-femme. Kim has done a lot of travel, and will occasionally post an entry about her travels. Now that she may be getting a job that reduces the number of trips she takes, I wonder whether she has a read on the current situation for transgender travel.

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If I had gone through both legal and medical transition, this would not be much of an issue for me, as all of my ID would be in sync with my gender presentation. But when I have to present my male id while in a female presentation, there is a concern in the back of my mind that I'll get hassled by someone with the power to interfere with my trip. This is not an idle concern, as I was singled out for secondary screening when I came home from my second cruise with Lili.

Assuming I (a non-op transgender) were to go through an airport scanner, I'd have to deal with the potential embarrassment of triggering an anomaly requiring further inspection. In my case, I'd be wearing breast forms and have a little extra "something" between my legs. The TSA doesn't make it easy for someone to request special, private screening, nor are the agents trained well enough to assume transgender people will be treated with appropriate respect.

Of course, once I get off the plane, I still will need to present government issued ID to rent a car, and (usually) to rent a hotel room. This is another problem area for some TG travelers. Each point where we must present male ID while in female presentation presents a possible risk. Yet, on the one trip I made to Washington DC totally en-femme, this was not a problem. And when I checked into a motel on a recent trip to Groton, CT, flashing a fake id also served me well. 

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So where does this leave a typical TG traveler?  

If one's papers are in sync with both one's gender presentation and one's anatomy, then I do not expect many problems right now - except some rube getting out of sorts by meeting a TG for the first time. However, if there is something out of sync, then I advise caution - especially when in less progressive areas of the world. 

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