Travel presents a number of concerns that everyone must consider when planning a trip. But for trans people, there are additional issues that are unique and may lead to problems when travelling.
Understanding the travel issues you may face as a trans person helps you prepare in advance and avoid unwanted complications when going through security checkpoints at airports.
Common Concerns for the Trans Traveller
Although many trans individuals are able to travel without incident, some people have experienced insensitive treatment that can be potentially demeaning and embarrassing.
Body scanners and pat-down protocols must be in line with the need for personal privacy and respect of all travellers. Security personnel must have the proper training to understand transgender needs.
Trans people may have physical characteristics that may not be consistent with their outward appearance. This leads to confusion among security personnel, which can result in inappropriate comments or actions.
Understanding Security Protocols
The number of body scanners in airports is increasing over time. So the trans traveller may encounter them more frequently in the future.
But if a body scanner is being used, you can ask to go through a physical pat-down instead. If you’re travelling while wearing a binder or packer, you should opt for a pat-down since the body scanner will likely reveal these items to security officers.
However, pat-downs can feel invasive to many people. It’s not uncommon for them to check areas close to your genitals. If your binder is detected during a pat-down, you may be asked to explain what it is.
Protecting Yourself and Your Rights
Trans travellers can carry information from their doctor to clarify any confusion related to gender or potential issues when travelling. Although this isn’t the ideal solution for trans travellers, it can make the process easier and prevent unwanted issues.
Any prosthetics that you travel with can be placed in your checked baggage. Although they are allowed in carry-on baggage, they may result in further screening from security officers.
Medications and other items that attract attention should be kept separate from any medical devices that you travel with.
Make sure that all details, such as the name, date of birth, and gender that have been included in your flight details, match the identifying documents with which you travel. These details are often used to distinguish travellers from others with similar details who may be included on watchlists.
You aren’t required to remove or lift any clothing to demonstrate that you are wearing prosthetics, binding items, breast forms, or other items commonly used by transgender people.
These are the most important things to remember as a trans person travelling alone. Understanding standard security procedures and your rights as a traveller will prevent any unwanted issues, so that you can travel without any worries.