Traveling While Trans*

Traveling while trans* can pose a vast amount of precarious situations. We believe it is important to acknowledge that these interactions can vary on our presentation and our privilege/ability to ‘pass’ as cis- and with that also falling into the binary. Some traveling procedures may require you to ‘disclose’ your trans* status- or in other words, out yourself. 

Let’s take flying for example: While traveling within the United States, TSA security protocols operate under the archaic binary system. They hit a pink or blue button depending on not only how you present, but how they ‘read’ you as well. This can pose issues for those of us who exist beyond the binary and/or have not changed over our documents. We think the main thing to always consider, unfortunately, is safety.


Consider where you are traveling to- are there any specific customs or laws to take into account? Are you traveling solo or with friends/family who can help advocate for you if need be?  Do some research ahead of time to prepare for what may come.

I have flown about a dozen times since ‘medically transitioning’ and their travel documents have not been changed- they have not had a single incident of ID scrutiny. Whereas Nash had been questioned prior to his documents being changed.

Some people may say- why don’t you ‘simply’ change your identification? But for me and other non-binary individuals that is not always an option. Sure we could switch our F to an M or vice versa but that would still not ring true for us. Not to mention the majority of states do not offer a gender neutral option. 

Traveling while trans* tips can also be as simple as planning/preparing. Getting all of your documents and supplies ready/set out, pre packing. 

Nash and I both like to take copies of our prescriptions with us, just in case there are any questions about my medication and need for syringes and needles. It’s never happened, but I’m paranoid and would rather be over prepared.

Nash also brings a letter from his doctor explaining his transgender identity in case there is any need to explain at TSA. The idea of having to explain and out himself in front of an already antsy and high energy group of people in a TSA security line sounds like stress-central to him. The ability to simply hand a letter to an agent instead of verbally sharing puts him at ease and has actually made situations easier. Consider asking your doctor for a letter too!

What works for you? Do you have tips you’d like to share with others?

Nash AzarianComment