The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transport Administration (SEPTA), which runs public transit services for four Pennsylvania counties, requires that all mass transit passes must include a sticker indicating the pass-holder’s gender. This policy is discriminatory and puts transgender people at risk for harassment and possible violence. It was put in place by SEPTA to prevent “pass sharing,” a type of fraud in which multiple people use one pass to save money. However, this system often outs transgender people and puts them in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations.
In response to the policy, transgender community members formed RAGE: Riders Against Gender Exclusion in 2009, and urged anyone who was harassed due to their gender marker to report the incident. Since then, reports of discrimination and harassment have been numerous. One woman reported that during her regular commute the conductor would frequently ask “Is that really your pass? You don’t look female enough.” Other passengers would also harass her. RAGE has had several meetings with SEPTA, but officials have not made any changes to the gender-marker system. Currently, RAGE is planning a campaign for SEPTA riders to pledge to support the cause and to protect the safety of their fellow riders. Max Ray, a member of RAGE, spoke to Campus Progress: “What we really want to do is make space for everyone who doesn’t fit those male and female stickers to stand up and say, hey, we’re here, and we deserve fair treatment, just like everybody else.”
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