notes for pre-ops
Washington, DC, USA.
Responding to recent terrorist actions, both the United Kingdom and the United States have imposed heightened security measures for all passengers on commercial flights and other modes of transportation.
For the Pre-op Transsexual (aka HBS), tighter security may present additional risks. Before full transition, bodies may not agree with gender identity. The sex/gender indicator on a driver’s license or government identification may be different from the social identity card.
Before Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), genitals misalign with innate and legal gender.
Such disconnects raise red flags for security personnel and can focus additional attention on people born transsexual. It is only a matter of time until security personnel discover male terrorists disguised as women attempting to slip aboard commercial aircraft.
If that happens, the risk to pre-op transsexuals rises exponentially. Any suggestion of deception gives security the justification needed to harass, embarrass, delay, or detain a pre-op.
Those whose bodies do not match their identification or presentation may be subject to a heightened level of scrutiny by airport security officers which may result in the invalidation and/or confiscation of passports and other identification documentation as well as the inability for the individual to travel.
Those who wear body modifying devices such as packers, binders, or breast forms may be pulled aside for additional questioning and explanation as to the nature and purpose of these devices.
There are ways to minimize the risk for pre-ops:
- only travel to places reached easily by private automobile (don’t fly);
- dress as the gender that matches your legal identification (an unacceptable solution for a transsexual in transition);
- travel with your “carry letter” from your therapist stating you are being treated for Gender Identity Disorder; and
- be upfront with security personnel about your physical status.
If you do travel, have your medical paperwork in order and ready for inspection. If the sex/gender on your identification is different from your appearance, mention the difference before you give the identification to security. Explain that you are a pre-op transsexual in transition and under a doctor’s care.
If you do not feel comfortable about addressing that you are a pre-op transsexual before you go through security, you need not bring up the subject. However, if you do so, you also need to be prepared for closure scrutiny if your pre-op condition is discovered involuntarily.
Any hormones and other medications should be legally prescribed and fully documented. If you use injectables, call ahead to the airport and advise the authorities that you have medically prescribed medications in a liquid form. This situation is a common situation for diabetics and other passengers under medical treatment. Be prepared to supply documentation from your doctor and undergo additional delays in boarding the aircraft.
Don’t deny who you are. Don’t be embarrassed by your situation. Assuming all else is equal, a pre-op transsexual has done nothing illegal or threatening. Hormone
therapy is not a terrorist threat.
People born transsexual are only victims if they let themselves be a victim. Pre-op Transsexuals should take control of their lives and be proactive rather than letting the system take control of them.
Most of all, be careful out there. The world outside the transsexual community is very unforgiving of mistakes and errors of judgment.