Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 29+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-02-25
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

THEATER REVIEW The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker THEATER REVIEW The Trial of Moses Fleetwood Walker
Playwright: Ervin Gardner. At: Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St. Tickets: ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

TSA police concern for transgender travelers
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2011-08-17

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Allyson Robinson is a veteran traveler. For her position as associate director of diversity for the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) , she has flown about twice a month for the last three years.

Last year, she logged 65,000 miles. However, Robinson has said that nothing makes her more nervous than checking into an airport.

Robinson is like many transgender people, who say that pre-flight screening rules and security scans present a unique set of challenges for transgender travelers.

The Transportation Security Administration ( TSA ) came under fire last week when it was widely reported that TSA allegedly dismissed a transgender employee over her gender identity. Ashley Yang sued TSA after being fired from her job at Los Angeles International Airport ( LAX ) in July 2010.

In a settlement from that case, TSA has mandated transgender sensitivity training for its managers at LAX.

However, TSA has been increasingly under fire from transgender groups for years now over passenger concerns.

"There is a violation of privacy that's taking place there that is absolutely unnecessary," said Robinson.

New security measures like full body scans and gender marker requirements in recent years have heightened fears among many transgender customers, who say that such procedures put them at risk for being publicly outed.

Being publicly outed, they say, puts transgender people at risk of humiliation, discrimination and violence.

The National Center for Transgender Equality ( NCTE ) tackles some of those worries in a set of recommendations for transgender travelers on its website. At the top of that list are ID issues.

TSA requires that passengers booking flights provide their gender, which must match the gender on the ID they use at the airport. Further, TSA recommends that travelers present as the gender on their ID.

"TSA respectfully suggests that passengers who have transitioned to another gender update their government issued ID accordingly if possible if they have concerns about misidentification when they travel," said Ann Davis, a TSA spokesperson.

Last year, the federal government changed guidelines to make it easier for transgender people to update the gender markers on their passports. Under old rules, transgender people had to provide proof having undergone certain gender-changing surgeries. Today, a note from a medical provider that a person has changed genders in some way is sufficient to change gender markers on a passport.

Still, not every transgender person wants or is able to update identification.

Robinson still has an "M" for male on her ID and can't update it for personal reasons. She said she has been stopped more than a dozen times at the airport because of it.

On Aug. 8, Robinson was returning home the Gender Odyssey Conference in Seattle. When she tried to check in at the airline desk, an employee pulled up her information on a computer and then called over two co-workers. The employee pointed out Robinson's information on the screen, and the three laughed, Robinson said. Robinson thought the incident could only be about the "M" on her flight information.

"There are all kinds of reasons why people have [ an old ] gender marker on their ID," she said.

Some transgender people opt not to change the gender marker on their ID for medical insurance reasons. Insurance companies can refuse to cover medical expenses on the basis of gender markers. A transgender man with an "M" on his ID, for example, might still need to get mammograms and pap smears, which insurance might refuse to cover.

Robinson questions why gender markers are necessary at all in airports.

Davis said that gender markers "allow TSA to better identify those who pose a threat to aviation while making travel easier for people who are often misidentified due to having a name similar to one on a watch list."

Gender markers may also determine whether travelers are search by female or male transportation security officers when there is confusion. TSA policy mandates that a person must be searched and screened by someone of the same gender. If a person has concerns about being perceived as the wrong gender, Davis said, TSA recommends updating identification documents.

Candice Hart, president of Chicago-based organization Illinois Gender Advocates, said she understands the TSA policies. As someone who travels, she said the security measures make her feel safer, even though her own IDs have not been updated since transition.

"Being outed is a big concern in the [ transgender ] community," Hart said. But she added, "you can argue both sides of it. One point is from a security standpoint."

Davis stated that TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties has not recorded significant problems with the ID policy.

Another concern among transgender travelers are the new full body scans, also known as advanced imaging technology ( AIT ) .

TSA started using the scans in 2007, but wide implementation of them over the last year raised eyebrows all over the country because the images show travelers bodies beneath their clothes, creating an almost nude image.

According to Davis, TSA agents review AIT images in a separate room without seeing the person whose scan they are viewing. Davis said that a screener might not even know a person was transgender based on the scan.

Robinson said that fact does not comfort her. Since TSA screeners communicate about the scans over the radio, Robinson argues that TSA officers still have access to information about travelers' bodies. Transgender people might also be asked to explain "anomalies" like breast prosthetics to TSA.

In July, TSA announced new generic AIT images, increasing privacy for travelers. The images look more like cartoon sketches than their actual bodies. Essentially, TSA says, all bodies will now look alike on the scan.

NCTE said questions remain, however. The organization worries the new scan won't prevent transgender people from being outed because the scanning process still differentiates genders and might show body "anomalies" on transgender people.

"We are concerned that AIT does not sufficiently identify security threats which may put transgender people under increased scrutiny leading to invasive pat-downs, potentially embarrassing questions and discrimination," NCTE said in a statement to Windy City Times.

However, TSA is making progress on transgender issues, said Vincent Paolo Villano of NCTE. Despite concerns, NCTE sits on the TSA coalition.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

KY Senate passes "Bathroom Bully Bill", Republicans join opposition 2015-02-27
Tennessee couples ask Supreme Court to end checkerboard of marriage laws 2015-02-27
Transcending the Blacklist: Coalitions consist of distinct communities 2015-02-25
At the heart of 'Mama' Gloria Allen 2015-02-25
National: HRC on anti-LGBT bills; Wal-Mart biased 2015-02-25
National: Pol and trans granddaughter; suicide; FBI and Fred Phelps 2015-02-24
'The Skew' explores trans-identity topics through satire 2015-02-24
LGBT activists talk community and why 'Black lives matter' 2015-02-24
DoL extends Family and Medical Leave Act to same-sex spouses 2015-02-23
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter comments on transgender service 2015-02-22
Pritzker's foundation funds trans oral history project 2015-02-22
U.S. murders of trans and gender-exploring people continue 2015-02-21
2015 Trans 100 set to debut under new management 2015-02-21
Intimate partner violence homicide in Lawrence, Massachusetts 2015-02-20
SPLC suit demands healthcare for transgender inmate in Georgia prison 2015-02-20
HUD tells homeless shelters to respect self-identified gender 2015-02-20
Chicagoans join Lambda Legal national board 2015-02-19
Rep. Honda speaks about transgender granddaughter 2015-02-18
Two reports detail wide discrimination against transgender Americans 2015-02-18
VIEWS LGBT parenting is a reproductive justice issue 2015-02-18
Epidemic: Murders of trans women of color largely ignored 2015-02-18
World: Nepal and marriage; mob attacks gay man; Nick Jonas in Sydney 2015-02-17
Nat'l roundup: Larry Kramer's honor; cold case revived; Kristin Beck 2015-02-17
National news: '.LGBT' domain; 2015-02-17
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Discrimination as religion 2015-02-17
NUNN ON ONE Vicki Lawrence takes 'Mama' on a road trip 2015-02-17
Army considers change in policy on transgender soldiers 2015-02-16
'Safe Home' for LGBTQI asylum-seekers in Chicago 2015-02-16
Army approves hormone treatment for Manning 2015-02-12
Critics attack candidate for racist, transphobic Tweets 2015-02-12
Laverne Cox to co-star on CBS pilot 2015-02-11
Kansas governor removes LGBT protections 2015-02-11
VIEWS The case of Bruce Jenner, and our transphobia 2015-02-11
Kim Gordon; MCA trans* forum; Women, Work, and Gender exhibit; Driehaus jewelry 2015-02-11
Voter canvassers file racial-profiling lawsuit against CPD 2015-02-10
Masen Davis 'extremely proud' of time at Transgender Law Center 2015-02-10
Lambda urges IN Senate Judiciary Committee to reject Senate Bill 568 2015-02-09
Obsessed man attacks lesbian couples, kills one 2015-02-09
Protest of animal lab targets Chicago offices 2015-02-06
HRC details legislation geared toward undermining LGBT equality 2015-02-06





Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Emanuel to face Garcia in April runoff; gay Latino wins big
 
Entertainment: Darren Criss; Kelly Clarkson; chef Art Smith; Tom Ford
 
National: Pol and trans granddaughter; suicide; FBI and Fred Phelps
 
Jeb Bush maintains anti-marriage equality stance
 
Chicago endurance athlete Hupe excels in marathon, Ironman
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.