TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers

Screen shot of the TSA webpage offering advice for transgender travelers.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently unveiled a webpage featuring information and advice for transgender travelers going through airport security. TSAs advice, while not comprehensive, covers a few important points:

  • Travelers should make sure that the gender provided when they book their flight matches the gender designation on the government-issued ID they bring to the airport. TSA Travel Document Checkers will check to ensure that information on your ID matches your boarding pass, however it does not matter whether your current gender presentation matches the gender marker on your ID or your presentation in your ID photo, and TSA officers should not comment on this.
  • In the event that a pat-down is required, it will only be conducted by an officer of the same gender as the traveler, based on the traveler’s gender presentation. This means that transgender women should be searched by female officers, and transgender men should be searched by male officers.
  • Transgender people should never be required to lift, remove or raise an article of clothing to reveal a prosthetic item and should not be asked to remove it. This applies to items such as breast forms and packers.
  • Transgender people who experience discriminatory or unprofessional conduct should request a supervisor and report it to TSA and to the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling says, “We’re thankful that the TSA is offering this kind of advice to trans travelers. It lets us know that trans people are on TSAs radar, and that they’re thinking about how to be helpful. But the TSA can strengthen their advice and do the work needed to address the full range of concerns transgender people face in airport security.”

Results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that nearly a third of transgender people experienced disrespect, discrimination or assault on an airplane or with TSOs. And for seven years, NCTE has advocated that the TSA develop procedures to avoid screening that can out transgender people and invade their privacy, as well as to provide appropriate training for Transportation Security Officers. NCTE has also urged TSA to address numerous reports of discrimination against transgender employees by adopting explicit nondiscrimination policies.

We will soon release updated resources to educate transgender people about what they should expect at airport security, and how to deal with problems at the airport.


19 Responses to TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers

  1. […] I am quite pleased to see the use of the term “prosthetic” – by which they mean, if you weren’t sure, things like breast forms and packers. Of course NCTE has more information, and follow-up on the info TSA has provided. […]

  2. Sara Clark says:

    I went to Florida last year and every one at TSA was kind and courteous…..absolutely no problems what-so-ever….all were very professional and I thank them for that. This new webpage is just what we needed….thank you again!!!

  3. […] We Missed By Jos | Published: March 16, 2012 The TSA has set up a web page which information for trans […]

  4. galadrielcrystal says:

    Reblogged this on galadrielcrystal and commented:
    Oo what a nice new blog I’ve found, cheers guys! Xxx

  5. Leann says:

    I probably take about a dozen flights per year dressed en femme. the only “issue” I ever had was with a rookie ID checker who just didn’t know what to do. Otherwise it has been very smooth.

  6. I have never traveled enfemme because I was scared of the security checks. Now that I see this, I may just take a trip soon.

  7. After having flown several dozen times en femme, I have never had an agent be even slightly impolite. The three times I’ve had pat downs has been with female agents who were courteous and even friendly. The’ve come to realize that trans people just don’t fit the profile of terrorists.

  8. Thanks for sharing this! I’m not transgender, but I am a lesbian, and I’m a definite supporter of the “T” in “LGBT.” It’s so wonderful to hear that people are having good experiences with flying as transgender individuals, and, while I never thought I’d say this, TSA ROCKS for putting these rules out.

  9. […] Full Article Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  10. My problem is that as an FTM, while I pass completely as male, my ID still has the F for female. My clients sometimes provide my airfare and purchase tickets on my behalf, and invariably list me as male. I don’t want to out myself. So then what? Fortunately, nobody has ever noticed the gender marker on my ID.

    • Loretta says:

      If you have a therapist, ask for a “carry letter”. I never heard of this until mine handed it to me. It says that they are a licensed professional and you are diagnosed with GID. You are to be treated as the gender in which you present regardless of legal name or gender change. This way, if someone does question the F, you can show them the letter saying you are male and it should be fine. Either that or say the person at motor vehicles was an old high school teacher who remembered failing you and was so used to putting F on everything for you it was done out of habit. lol

  11. […] Present as a lady, get patted down by a lady: The TSA recently posted info and advice for transgender travelers. […]

  12. After a humiliating experience last month in which a body scan revealed “multiple anomalies” and I was made to remove my shirt and have the entire surface of my “suspicious” chest binder swabbed by TSA agents who had never heard of either trans men or binding, I did file a complaint. I did not, however, receive any real response.

    If you’d like to hear more, I’ve written a post on it here: http://trans-fusion.blogspot.com/2012/03/tsa-body-scanning-and-trans-body.html.

  13. […] links for you to check out.  One is the guideline itself, from the TSA website.  The other is a post about the guidelines on the Advancing Transgender Equality […]

  14. Ariel Patterson says:

    I had never though about what might happen while I was traveling. I’m fortunate to have never had to encounter this problem, but I’m glad to know that I’m protected now if I do. 🙂 ThanksTSA!

  15. […] TSA recently put up a webpage with information for transgender travelers, and has begun to incorporate respect for transgender people into employee training – but there is still a ways to go, and some problems will continue as long as TSA relies on invasive screening procedures. NCTE plans to put out a new resource on airport security in the coming weeks. […]

  16. phone says:


    […]TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers « National Center for Transgender Equality's Blog[…]…

  17. […] For Trans travelers there is great resource re: TSA on Nat’l Center For Trans Equality […]

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