Young people living outside of gender norms are everywhere.
Whether in the process of transitioning from male to female or
vice versa; identifying outside boxes; or gender-nonconforming,
the spectrum of gender identities is more visible than ever before.
Serious legal and other obstacles abound, however, and these can
be especially daunting for young people who are transgender or
gender-nonconforming (TGNC). The challenges of changing one’s
name, finding access to hormones or enduring police brutality, for
instance, demand a distinctly adult set of skills and can take their
toll on a young person.
After my experience, I do have some advice for trans travelers. If you wind up in line for a body scanner, be aware that you can ask to skip it and have a pat-down. If you do go through the scanner, if you look back at it you will see a small simplified display with an outline of a body, and colored rectangles over any detected “anomaly,” which will let you know, if you are called aside for further screening, what part of your body they will focus on. You can then, if you wish, pre-emptively state to the agents that you are wearing a binder or breast forms or whatever seems the likely issue. I’d suggest calmly stating that TSA policy forbids requiring a passenger to reveal or remove a prosthesis. You also have the right to request a private screening (although, if the TSA agent seems hostile and you fear mistreatment, a public screening may in fact be safer, even though it involves more public stares).
I’d also suggest that if you are subjected to bodily scrutiny as a trans person that makes you uncomfortable or delays you, that you complain to the TSA Office of Civil Rights and Liberties. I didn’t get a response, but perhaps if you specifically state that you believe your right not to have to reveal or prosthetic was violated, you would. In any case, the more complaints they receive, the more likely it is that eventually something will be done, or at least that someone can document how many complaints have been filed with no result.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently unveiled a webpage featuring information and advice for transgender travelers going through airport security.