Bring plenty of paper towels to mop the tears of laughter.
A courageous story from April 2014 of a person who is vaguely genderfuck and took on the eternal issue of how to wear a sock down your jeans while boarding a plane. Told by: Batshua bat Yehonatan.
Over the past few months, I’ve been thinking more about presenting as genderfuck in my non-work time; namely, I’ve been thinking about packing.
For anyone who doesn’t know me, let me make this clear. I am terrible at true genderfuck. Nobody is going to mistake me for a 14-year-old boy or an androgyne. I am, shall we say, rather well-endowed and I do not bind.
I’d been thinking for a while about what would happen if I got a patdown while packing, and whether or not it would flag me as a security risk or cause me to miss my flight. I don’t currently own a packer, so I’ve been packing with a wool sock which makes me feel rather … like I’m overcompensating, although my close friends swear it’s more subtle than I think.
Tricky. Try a smaller sock? One of those socks for just the foot, with no leg part? Or a small silk scarf? Or a mitten?
As my combination Passover and Spring Break trip to visit my folks neared, I considered the possibility that I might want to pack on my travel day because darnit, it’s my right to present as whatever gender I want. However, as a person who always chooses to opt-out for patdown, I knew this could cause problems.
I’m confused now. Is she presenting as a person who always chooses to opt-out for patdown? Or is she identifying as that? Or is she expressing as that?
So anyway, she tried to ask the TSA about it, and, astonishingly, did not get an immediate clear reply. They were very nice about it but they didn’t know how to respond to her question.
I believe it was a Tuesday when I started the journey of reaching out to the Bradley Airport TSA guy, who is super nice and friendly and helpful. We played phone tag a bit due to his schedule, my schedule, and the crappy reception I have in the town where I serve.
Ultimately, I explained to him my situation: I am legally female, as masculine as I can dress, nobody would mistake me for anything other than a butch chick, but I prefer to pack as a way of expressing my gender. I chose to use the word “androgynous” rather than “genderfuck”, because I feel like “genderfuck” is an excessively provocative word to use with uninitiated cisgender folks who might be your allies. I let him know that I would, as I always have, prefer to opt-out and get a patdown and I realized that getting a patdown while packing might cause undue alarm and I wanted to know how best this could be handled so that nobody freaked out and I didn’t miss my flight.
He told me nobody had ever asked him about this situation before, and he provided a few options, including: having a female do the patdown, having a male do the patdown, or having my patdown split between a female officer and a male officer. I said I was used to having a female do the patdown and was fine with that, but it was exciting to have options offered to me!
I was surprised to find out that even though my flight was on Friday, not even a whole week away, he had plenty of lead time to arrange things for me. I was assigned a TSA Passenger Support Specialist and we set an appointment for a time for me to meet her at the security checkpoint. He also gave me the work cell number of the Transportation Security Manager for Bradley in case I showed up extra early or ran late.
I’m so pleased to read that. I’m so pleased that all this trouble was taken to accommodate a special person with a sock down her jeans.
After I checked in with my airline and dropped my bag off at X-Ray, I was met by my TSA Passenger Support Specialist, who took me right through to the head of the Pre✔︎ line. I joked that I should have gender issues more often.
I don’t get the joke. I’ve just made a note to put a sock down my pants any time I have to fly in the future.
The head of the Bradley TSA had warned me that since people perceived as women don’t generally have bulges in their pants, I would need to disclose my “anomaly” and it might warrant further screening. Because I was identifying as nonbinary, the transgender policy doesn’t currently cover me.
Well that’s a fucking outrage. Congress should get on that right away, and make it so that genderfuck people are covered by the transgender policy at airports. This violent oppression of the genderfuck community has gone on long enough.
Before commencing the patdown, I had literally announced “There is an anomaly in my pants”. I found out that technically my sock does count as a prosthetic, but since I’m not identifying as a trans man, again, they have to check my “anomaly”.
[interlude for about 5 minutes of hysterical laughter]
So I went to get a private patdown with my TSA Passenger Support Specialist and another female TSA agent. The procedure is the same as a regular opt-out patdown, but because there was an anomaly in my pants, I had to have a second patdown, known as a resolution patdown. They swabbed my TSA Passenger Support Specialist’s gloves for residue, and they had to x-ray my sock. Then the other officer did the resolution patdown where they patted vertically and horizontally over the front of my groin to ensure I wasn’t hiding anything else in there. They were totally respectful and non-creepy about the whole thing. I felt pretty fucking empowered.
I feel pretty fucking empowered just reading about it!
After I was done, the Transportation Security Manager gave me an official TSA comment/complaint card as well as his business card. He reminded me that if I preferred, I could always check my packer and put it in after I pass through the security checkpoint. I agreed and pointed out that for some people, the wait in the security checkpoint line without packing would be extremely emotionally uncomfortable for them, and so I figured it was worth trying it out to see what it was like for all the people who might want to do this but are afraid to ask.
It must be horrendously emotionally uncomfortable to be genderfuck but not trans, and so not covered by the transgender policy, and be separated from your sock for ten minutes. It’s making me weep to think of it.
Batshua is a genderqueer gray-asexual panromantic polyamorous person. They are a neuroatypical, chronically ill, invisibly-disabled Jewish pagan living in rural western Massachusetts. Ze recently started identifying as more strongly genderfuck than previously and has been experimenting with various forms of presentation. She doesn’t generally consider herself an activist, but he got the idea in his head to pack while flying home for Passover this spring. Batshua generally doesn’t care what kind of pronouns are used as long as they refer to sentient beings.
So use all the pronouns. The ultimate in genderfuck.