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“Traveling while Trans” in the Holiday Season

This time of year can be really wonderful, but it can also be a very stressful time for many transgender people. Join Equality Pennsylvania at Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room to talk about some good self care and stress reduction this holiday season.

Equality Pennsylvania will also discuss your rights as a transgender traveler and provide some helpful tips. And, we want to hear about your experiences of #TravelingWhileTrans. Refreshments and friendships will be provided!

Event Details:
Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room
345 S 12th St, Philadelphia, PA
Wednesday, December 16th
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

For more information visit:

If you can’t make to the event see the travel tips below or download the tips here.

Traveling While Trans

General Information

Many transgender people travel extensively without incident. But, even with the best preparation, unexpected events can occur. ANY discrimination is NOT your fault! The goal here is to prepare ourselves as best as possible to ensure a smooth travel experience. It is important to recognize that even having to concern ourselves with these issues is a way in which the threat of discrimination impacts our lives.

ID cards and Tickets

  • Information on the ticket MUST match information on the ID. You may use the ID of your choice.
  • Officially, it should not matter whether your current gender presentation matches your ID
  • Consider bringing supporting documents (doctor’s notes, court order changing name, other IDs)

Hormones and Medical Supplies

  • DO NOT CHECK: medications and supplies, INCLUDING syringes, in one single bag.
  • DO bring proof of prescription: keep prescribed items in the original packaging, and ensure that the prescribed name matches the name on your ID.
  • DO notify the TSA that you are traveling with medication and syringes.

Personal Items Like Binders or Prostheses

  • Binders or prosthetic devices, may lead to additional questioning and screening. Be prepared to give a brief description of what these objects are to minimize additional screening.
  • Wigs do not usually require additional screening, but they may if they are not “form fitting”

TSA Body scanners

  • Newer scanners which show a “generic body” (not a naked image) and use software to depict “anomalies.” Transgender bodies might set off the machine, which will result in a “pat down”
  • You CAN opt out of body scanners in which case you will be subjected to a patdown.
  • Pat downs CAN be done in private, with a witness of your choosing.
  • If you’ve experienced unprofessional conduct, you can file a complaint with the TSA Civil Rights office as well as the Transgender Law Center and Equality PA.

Communicating With TSA Officers

  • You may request a private screening or to speak to a supervisor at any time
  • Remain calm and never raise your voice or threaten TSA staff (this is a serious crime).
  • Assert your rights in a positive, calm and respectful manner.
  • Consider a TSA “Notification Card.


  • Usually much easier than flying, but do be aware of your surroundings and the area through which you are passing.
  • If renting a car, the usual ID issues apply as well as general service location transphobia.

Train and Bus Travel

  • Security requirements are greatly relaxed compared to airline travel.

International Travel

  • Research politics and laws ahead of time. Some countries have criminalized being LGBT.

Be safe, and be smart! And, finally, discrimination is NOT your fault. We live in a world with built in discrimination and transphobia.

National Center for Transgender Equality: Know Your Rights/Airport Security:
A Trans Guide for Staying Safe While Traveling:

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Thank you to our 2017-18 Strategic Partners

Equality Federation Human Rights Campaign Gill Foundation Gill Action Fund Freedom for All Americans
American Unity Fund ACLU PA Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund Johnson Family Foundation Schlegel-Deibler Charitable Foundation

To become a strategic partner with a contribution, sponsorship, or service of $2,500 or more,
contact Elle Hammond at

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