Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-01-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Int'l model Hanne Gaby Odiele reveals she's intersex, will work for youth 2017-01-23
HRC previews 2017 anti-LGBTQ actions anticipated in statehouses 2017-01-23
Judge in Schock trial recuses herself 2017-01-22
Gay man attacked in Edgewater 2017-01-22
Anti-LGBT lawyer suspended for misogynist comments 2017-01-20
Chicago's Women's March announces new rally site and march route 2017-01-19
Estimates show 150,000 youth ages 13 to 17 identify as transgender in U.S. 2017-01-18
175 mayors from 42 states launch coalition for LGBT protections 2017-01-18
EEOC report on charges of work discrimination details LGBT cases 2017-01-18
Felicia, 36, and Miguel Barahona, 4, dead of hate violence, intimate partner violence 2017-01-18
National: Judy Shepard, lesbian co-pastors, trans White House staffer 2017-01-18
Chelsea Manning's sentence commuted 2017-01-18
No Human is Illegal, Take These Precautions Now 2017-01-18
Activists want to quash Uptown TIF subsidy 2017-01-18
Torres to work with Howard Brown 2017-01-18
Poll: 10M LGBTQs reside in U.S. 2017-01-18
Most have all-gender restrooms at home. Why not everywhere? 2017-01-18
Judge: Secular celebrants can officiate marriages 2017-01-18
NUNN ON ONE: CELEBRITY Meiling Jin travels from China to 'Chop Chop' 2017-01-17
President Obama Grants Commutation to Chelsea Manning 2017-01-17
Wife of Orlando shooter arrested 2017-01-16
Trans person: Nightclub's apology insufficient 2017-01-15
Berlin washroom vandalized 2017-01-15
DOJ report points to CPD problems with people of color, trans, LGB communities 2017-01-14
Julian Assange wants clemency for Manning 2017-01-14
Equality California urges Congress to preserve the Affordable Care Act 2017-01-13
156 LGBT elected officials call on Pres-elect to advance LGBT equality 2017-01-13
Next Sec. of Defense indicates he will not change open LGBT military service 2017-01-11
LGBT military group calls on Mattis to express support for all service members 2017-01-11
Attack on Affordable Care Act: Lambda Legal urges action to save lives 2017-01-11
Wachowski's art captures lost trans lives in vivid emotion 2017-01-11
World news: Chinese trans win, rape in India, Tim Cook 2017-01-10
NUNN ON ONE: TV Chicago native Law Roach on judging 'Next Top Model' 2017-01-10
ACLU acts to block court order permitting health care discrimination 2017-01-10
Two-spirit transgender woman killed in Sioux Falls, South Dakota 2017-01-09
Chicago House to sell TransLife Center building 2017-01-08
Intimate partner violence homicide in Newport News, Virginia 2017-01-06
Fundraiser to benefit Chicago LGBT Asylum Support partners 2017-01-06
Mesha Caldwell, transgender woman of color, killed in Mississippi 2017-01-06
NJ Catholic hospital denies care to trans man, Lambda files suit 2017-01-05
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



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.