Since my son has come out, we have flown together 4 times. Every single time he gets a “random” screening from TSA. I have not had one trip with him where I don’t sit there helpless to do anything while they look over his ID and pat him down and analyze him like he is a circus side show. Flying trans can be arduous.
I have seen hurt on his face. I want to step in, but this TSA airline system is set up in such a way that you cannot and dare not assert yourself, even as a parent. You just have to sit there and endure the look of pain on your child’s face knowing you can do nothing.
When it is over, I always ask if he is okay. He says yes and then goes on to say that he is used to it. Used to it. That is a phrase that gets inside me and does not let go. There are so many things he and his peers are used to.
They are used to other things as well:
- Deliberate misgendering
- Healthcare complications (I’ll write about trans broken arm syndrome someday)
- Adults in school board meetings talking about them as if they are an issue like lead in the drinking fountain
- Being told to understand religious bigotry from family members
- Friends attempting or committing suicide
- Holding in urine like a camel until you get a UTI because public bathrooms are not safe
- Insulting memes and jokes from “allies”
- People who say they love you but are obviously concerned what others think
I could do on for pages on the things they have to get used to. They shouldn’t have to get used to any of this. I shouldn’t have to stand there helpless in so many of these situations. As a parent I can stem off some of it. My family members that are religious know that there will be no quarter offered for any expression of negative bias and that I will not tell him to understand their concerns. Most of these, I get to be a helpless spectator who can only encourage and love as best as I can.
Flying to DisneyWorld, an anime convention, or any of his other destinations should be met with excitement. Schools should be a place to learn, grow, discover and spend time with friends. Healthcare providers should be more educated on this matter. Going to the bathroom should be an inconsequential part of your day. No child should face so much trauma that they do not think they can hang on to life another day. School board meetings should be about a better education for our kids. Religious persons and non religious people with biases would do well to open their ears and shut their mouths.
I know frequent frisking is not as severe as being physically dragged off a plane and injured in the process. But when it is something you are used to, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. It needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. We’d rather not take the train.