tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
This week I learned that the Transportation Security Administration's new Secure Flight program will require airlines to provide the TSA with passengers' birth dates and genders, in addition to the personal information that airlines already provide, for flights originating in the US.

In the US, trans people often are unable to change the gender markers on their government-issued forms of ID (particular driver's licenses or state ID cards, and passports) to match their gender. A full discussion is beyond the scope of this post, but to keep it concrete, I'll mention that my driver's license and passport both say 'F' right now, though I'm a guy, and changing either one isn't an option for me. (That is to say, I could change both, but changing either would require doing something I can't do in good conscience.)

The fundamental absurdity of including gender on an identification card is that it's not an objectively verifiable property of an individual. We understand that if your ID says you have brown eyes, anyone can verify that by looking at your eyes. We understand that if your ID says you're 5 feet 3 inches tall, anyone can verify that by asking you to stand in front of a measuring stick. If gender is what your brain thinks your body ought to be, then you can't determine someone's gender except by asking them. Since changing your gender marker takes more than a statement of intent, gender markers do not denote a person's internal sense of gender. If the gender marker on an ID is supposed to denote whether the bearer has a penis or has a vulva, then it is not a useful property to list on an ID, since you aren't typically asked to expose your genitalia to prove that you are indeed the person your ID says you are. If the gender marker is supposed to denote whether a person who inspected you when you were born thought you had a penis or had a vulva, then it doesn't denote that property either, since it's possible to change the marker. And if the gender marker is supposed to denote whether the bearer appears more masculine than feminine, or appears more feminine than masculine, it certainly doesn't denote that property: many people, including some who wouldn't describe themselves as being trans, appear masculine even though their birth certificate says they're female, or appear feminine even though their birth certificate says they're male. So what does the gender marker denote?

If you're buying a plane ticket now, you're supposed to provide your gender as listed on your government-issued ID along with all your other information. It's one thing for me to passively carry a card in my pocket that says I'm female even though I'm not -- that's a decision someone else made for me, before i could protest. It's another thing to, actively, check that box that says I'm something I'm not, even time I buy a plane ticket. Every time I lie about who I am, I am a little bit less of a person. I'm also not willing to get someone else to lie for me in order to get my documentation changes. If I can't get my needs met as a person of integrity, then I will forgo getting them met.

I don't think anyone who makes rules like these thinks about how they might most effectively inconvenience transsexual and transgender people. I do think that because we are broadly considered to be non-human (also see: people who are willing to reject a particular health care reform plan just because that plan might provide us with medically necessary care), there is no motivation for rulemakers to consider the effect their policies might have on us. To get people to start thinking of us as human, we have to make ourselves visible and we have to resist. To be complicit with a false characterization of yourself just because that's what's more convenient for you is to move to the back of the bus: understandable on an individual level, but counterproductive on a mass level.

That means that next time I book airline tickets, I'll be listing my gender correctly as "male"; if I'm harassed either at the airport or beforehand because my ID doesn't match my gender, I'll deal with the consequences. But I won't be quiet and respectful. And if need be, I'll stop travelling by air altogether or will fly out of Vancouver, B.C.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 08:40 pm (UTC)
lorena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lorena
Bought four airline tickrts in the last week online and was not asked at that time for d o b or gender. I'll let you know if I'm asked for either at a ponit where it would be entered into a computer.

Only new restiction was that I needed to use my own credit card for the one way tickets.

I did fly in June and a ticket agent could have done it then.

I've used post it notes placed strategically to stay off of casino mailing lists but I've never thought about this.
Edited Date: 2009-08-19 08:44 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 08:50 pm (UTC)
lorena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lorena
Florida dl is designed so I can cover it with a decorative band.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 09:11 pm (UTC)
lorena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lorena
Or taking it without asking. A habit it is to hand in my yravle papers and ID to the ticket agent to check in.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-20 09:37 am (UTC)
juli: hill, guardrail, bright blue sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] juli
It's supposed to be entered at time of reservation, not checkin. The value given at reservation (which is when the watchlist is checked, effectively) is compared at checkin or security to the value on identification, and if there is a mismatch (thus invalidating the watchlist check), secondary screening is used.

Granted, but

Date: 2009-08-20 12:08 pm (UTC)
lorena: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lorena
there is nothing in what I've read that prevents the information from being compiled early; more data = better in some minds and better to not let any opportunity for information gathering to go unattached.

By designing a small wallet like I described doesn't prevent data gathering, but gathering unawares.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 09:22 pm (UTC)
adularia: Photo of me, in black and white, with my glasses tilted. (Default)
From: [personal profile] adularia
I'm confused about one thing, which you've probably addressed before: If the card in your pocket can be changed, now that you are able to change it, why refuse? Complicity with the whole gatekeeping game?

there is also...

Date: 2009-08-19 10:50 pm (UTC)
elladisenchanted: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elladisenchanted
that many, in fact most, if my mental count is to be trusted, states (and every province save Ontario, Newfieland, and Nova Scotia) don't allow one to change the gender marker on one's ID without some sort of "gender modification surgery." in other words, you're fine if you're in oregon, but what about someone from montana, oklahoma, missouri, new hampshire, maine, vermont (yeah, i said vermont), pennsylvania, virginia, and so on and so forth? i'm not exactly sure i'm comfortable telling those folks to move, not fly, or pound sand.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 09:23 pm (UTC)
juli: 21 Novinskiy (america)
From: [personal profile] juli
The defense that I saw of the policy suggested that if there was a mismatch you'd get secondary screening. They obviously haven't thought this through since they have a policy of using same-gender/sex screeners for secondary screening — which field will they defer to? Well, I suppose that we know the answer. Which is perhaps a good opening to say "while I do not care about the gender/sex of my screener, as it is TSA policy to use same-gender screeners and I identify as male I would prefer a male screener". And that would be brilliant if it were actually a way to be heard, but we both know how much human decency there is available at the average TSA checkpoint when it comes to dealing with transpeople, and how deaf the ears are that hear about such complaints.
Edited Date: 2009-08-19 09:23 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 10:51 pm (UTC)
elladisenchanted: (Default)
From: [personal profile] elladisenchanted
The defense that I saw of the policy suggested that if there was a mismatch you'd get secondary screening.

...well isn't that fucking lovely? *shudder*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 11:01 pm (UTC)
juli: hill, guardrail, bright blue sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] juli
Yep!

I hope all of this is rushed through and the databases badly-modified and one can craft CGI parameters to put an 'X' or something. That would be a joyous thing. I would be willing to pay full fare and be entirely loyal to an airline that was willing to file an 'X'.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 09:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sethg-prime.livejournal.com
And if the gender marker is supposed to denote whether the bearer appears more masculine than feminine, or appears more feminine than masculine,

I now have this vision of government-issued ID that labels the bearer as "butch" or "femme".

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sethg-prime.livejournal.com
...and of course, if you have "clone" written in that space, all of the other descriptive characteristics can be left out.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-19 09:34 pm (UTC)
etb: upside-down US flag (distress)
From: [personal profile] etb
"TSA determined that mandating the provision of the additional data elements of date of birth and gender would greatly reduce the number of passengers misidentified as a match to the watch list."

So if you're on the watch list, changing the gender marker gets you off the list? Copters.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-20 01:52 am (UTC)
yam: Cartoon mad science version of me. (Default)
From: [personal profile] yam
I just booked a flight out of Vancouver, and was asked to enter my gender. I don't know if this is peculiar to the carrier I chose (Alaska) or if all US airlines will do this regardless of whether you're departing from the US. At least at YVR you would be screened by CATSA instead of TSA. They're less confrontational / arrogant, in my experience anyway, but I've mostly had extra screenings of my luggage, not my person with both agencies, so I'm not sure how relevent that is. It's not clear to me whether they would get the TSA-mandated gender information from the airline or not, or whether they would do anything about it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-08-20 03:03 am (UTC)
etb: Canadian flag (canadian flag)
From: [personal profile] etb
IME, entering gender/date of birth (and passport number) is standard for air (and rail) travel between the US and Canada—for the border agencies. Any Alaska plane from YVR is going to the US (only Canadian airlines are allowed to operate domestic Canadian flights, as only US airlines are allowed to operate domestic US flights), so that could be why you were asked.

Tim: if your funder allows codeshare flights, Air Canada codeshares with United.

Redress

Date: 2009-08-20 03:32 pm (UTC)
lorena: (fireflies)
From: [personal profile] lorena
This press release mentions redress but I don't see why folks can't contact them ahead of time to ask/discuss thus.

http://www.tsa.gov/press/releases/2009/0331.shtm

Profile

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

July 2014

S M T W T F S
  12345
6 78910 1112
131415 16171819
2021 2223242526
2728 293031  

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags