THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — There’s no doubt the TSA has been the ire of plane travelers in the United States, especially transgender ones. In the early days of the program, trans people were getting “outed” unintentionally (perhaps sometimes even deliberately). Then, contact with the TSA proved to be intrusive and embarrassing. Understandably, many choose not to fly for that reason alone.
The program has been around for a while now, so certainly some progress has been made, not just for trans people, but for the entire flying public. However, in a recent matter not directly related to the TSA, trans people still had harsh words for the TSA. Here are a few juicy choices:
“The TSA is a joke.”
“I won’t fly as long as the TSA has the power they do. They are simply thugs”
“the TSA and gestapo-like tactics”
(You can read the story behind that here: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/justice-for-trans-womans-rough-airport-experience-becomes-undone-by-lack-of-facts-shared-on-social-media/)
This had me thinking about the TSA . . . are they really still as bad as trans passengers making them out to be? An answer came in the form of a comment made by a reader of my article who pointed out that the TSA is actually concerned about transgender passengers to the point that they have a specific web page for us: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/transgender-travelers
Indeed, the very first thing you see is this:
“TSA recognizes the concerns members of the transgender community may have with undergoing the security screening process at our Nation’s airports and is committed to conducting screening in a dignified and respectful manner.”
The webpage contains travel tips and explains the screening process for trans people. But most importantly, I thought, was this section:
“Reporting Travel Issues or Concerns
Travelers who believe they have experienced unprofessional conduct at a security checkpoint are encouraged to request a supervisor at the checkpoint to discuss the matter immediately or to submit a concern to TSA’s Contact Center at: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.
Travelers who believe they have experienced discriminatory conduct because of a protected basis may file a concern with TSA’s Office of Civil Rights & Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement. Travelers may also file discrimination concerns with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.”
Yes, that’s correct, the TSA suggests you ask for a supervisor immediately at the checkpoint if there is a problem.
No, I’m not going to say the system is perfect, but I’m arguing headway has been made and means are available for transgender people to help improve the system.
I’m also suggesting that comments about the TSA on the internet may not reflect how things really are.
If you’re going to fly, I’d suggest printing out the webpage and carrying it with you. If you get a rogue agent, ask for a supervisor and show them the flyer.
Feel free to post your own recent experience(s) with the TSA in the comments section below.
Thanks to Leann Lapine, Judith Frances.
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