New TSA page. Transsexuality and the Airways

Stoic eyed, expressionless the agent demanded that I dump the contents of my duffle bag onto the floor, in full view of gawking future plane mates. Humiliated and red faced I asked the agent why I had been singled out. He replied 'because you paid for the ticket in cash'.

Singled out on a domestic flight originating from Cedar Rapids to a similarly innocuous destination? For paying in US Dollars?

That was a number of years ago but the memories remain fresh. I get anxious even now when I look at those expressionless TSA agents at the airport. It should not have to be like this. Hopefully the new TSA page will educate those agents who are a little less than understanding or knowledgeable about transsexualism and the airways.

Some of the information found on the new TSA Transgender page in bold print and of course, my obligatory commentary.

Making Reservations: Secure Flight requires airlines to collect a traveler’s full name, date of birth, gender and Redress Number (if applicable) to significantly decrease the likelihood of watch list misidentification. Travelers are encouraged to use the same name, gender, and birth date when making the reservation that match the name, gender, and birth date indicated on the government-issued ID that the traveler intends to use during travel.

Why using our authentic name would make us more likely to be placed on a watch list is beyond me, but there it is. If you don't want a hassle from the get go buy your ticket with your legal name. For those in the community who haven't or don't want to change their legal name and gender marker this could be more than a little daunting.

What if you gender presentation is so authentic you do not look like your 'government issued id'? Will that put you on a 'watch list'?

Case in study. The Denver Wrangler bar staff recently excused their transphobic denial of public accommodations to a drag queen because his id did not match (sic) his presentation.

New Advanced Imaging Technology Software: TSA has upgraded all millimeter wave advanced imaging technology units with new software called Automated Target Recognition to further enhance privacy protections by eliminating the image of an actual traveler and replacing it with a generic outline of a person.

In everyday language, your bits and pieces will not be (should not be) viewable.

In case you were wondering these items are a no
no according to the TSA Blog
On the lighter side the TSA.gov blog reported that "Officers found a can of soup in a Las Vegas passenger’s carry-on bag. When told that it couldn’t go through because of the liquids rule (it was more than 3.4 ounces), the passenger said they would put the soup in their checked baggage. But when the passenger returned to the checkpoint, officers saw that the passenger had tried to hide the soup in their pants.  No soup for them."  

"Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT): Screening with advanced imaging technology is voluntary and travelers may “opt out” at any time. Travelers who “opt out” of the AIT screening are required to undergo a thorough pat-down by an officer of the same gender as the traveler presents."

SexyTSA Costumes.
ready for your pat down?
Note that the officer conducting the pat down is of the same gender as you present, not necessarily what you ID indicates. The choice of whom pats you down, male or female is yours. Side note. Wondering why the TSA put "opt out" in parenthesis.

Now for what in all likelihood got me that special attention. I was really nervous.

Behavior Detection Program: 
Behavior Detection Officers screen travelers using non-intrusive behavior observation and analysis techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers. Officers are designed to detect individuals exhibiting behaviors that indicate they may be a threat to aviation and/or transportation security. Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors may be referred for additional screening, which can include a pat-down and physical inspection of carry-on baggage.

TSA recognizes that exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent. Referrals for additional screening are solely based on specific observed behaviors.

So I'm flying to DC this Febuary. My information is already in the NSA's hands as we will be inside the White House at some point. Here's to Hoping the agents you I come into contact do not see through cisgender lenses.
Happy Trails!

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