Cross posted at Fukshot
The TSA has implemented new screening procedures for airline passengers. Passengers who “opt-out” of full body scans are subject to an “enhanced patdown”. I have read accounts of these procedures that sent me in to a full-blown triggered tailspin this afternoon. I will not fly. My risk of violent death as a result of being outed as trans by a TSA officer might be greater than the risk of having my plane blown up would be if there was no screening whatsoever. There is nowhere I need to fly to so badly that I will allow a stranger to grope my genitals or see me naked.
There is also concern about the safety of the scanning machines. I’m not quite clear enough on the science, but major pilots’ unions are advising their members to endure the “enhanced” groping rather than undergo frequent x-ray back scatter scans.
I’m not surprised that the coverage of this issue has not discussed trans people. I am, however, pleased to see that much of it has centered the concerns of sexual assault survivors. There has also been a good deal of discussion involving concerns over children’s experience of genital touching by a stranger, even if that stranger is paid by the federal government to wear a blue polyester blazer.
For those of you who might be planning a flight this thanksgiving, November 24 has been declared National Opt-Out Day. As a protest of the current procedures, travelers are encouraged to opt-out of the body image scan, forcing the TSA to administer an unanticipated level of patdowns on the heaviest travel day of the year. I encourage anyone who can stomach the invasive groping to do so. It seems to me that this is potentially the most effective protest. If you do experience the patdown, and you find it in any way problematic, please report the incident to the TSA as well as completing this form for the ACLU, who is gathering data on the problem. I would like to warn that the gender marker options on the ACLU form are problematic. (male, female, transgendered; only possible to choose one; while many people are, I and many other trans folks do not consider ourselves a third gender)
I am now sure (it was up in the air) that I will not be attending a conference in New York this spring. I will also not be going to Paris.