Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to "Fly Pretty"


If y’all are reading this, you presumably know that I travel a LOT for my job, and I do the majority of it cross dressed. Yepper, I definitely qualify as an expert when it comes to “flying pretty”. In fact, at the risk of bragging, I'm pretty sure that I am the one that coined that particular phrase a few years ago.  :)

I get countless comments and emails asking for advice on flying, and so this post is intended to address the majority of those questions and concerns.

Anyway, here is my post on the “do’s”, the “Don’ts”, and the “how to” of flying when you are transgender.








1.      Surprisingly enough, the airlines and the TSA are experienced and well trained in the proper way to deal with the transgendered. You are not going to shock or surprise them, and they are not going to hassle you.
2.      Never try and fool the airline or the TSA as to your real name or gender. If you are gonna fly pretty, you just need to accept it in advance that the airline and the TSA people you are going to deal with will know beyond any shadow of a doubt who and what you are. If you can not accept this, then you should just go ahead and skip the whole adventure and fly drab. The reality is, if you make any effort to hide your real name or gender from the airline or the TSA, I can 100% guarantee you that you will not be boarding an airplane and you may even end up spending some quality time speaking with law enforcement.
Don't get me wrong, this does not mean that you need to approach any of these people and wave your hand frantically above your head while shouting "I am Transgender!"  What it does mean is that you need to give your real information when you book the flight, and you need to present a legal and unaltered state or federal ID that gives your true and legal information.
3.      You do not need to specifically tell the people that you interact with "I am transgendered."  Let's face it, when you are dressed as one gender, and present an ID showing that you are technically the other, this is abundantly clear and so there is no need to state it.
4.      Don't worry, your legal ID will be just fine. As I said, the TSA is used to seeing this and it won’t throw them for a loop. The inspector will probably look long and hard at you and your ID, but he will ultimately pass you through. In the hundreds of flights that I've taken, I only ran into an issue once with this and it was because of a brand new inspector who was still being trained. In that case, she just quietly called her supervisor over and he politely asked if I might have another form of ID to show them just to give them more confidence that I was the same person shown in the ID. Even with this small hiccup, they were quiet and respectful, and at no time did I feel like I was getting undue attention. Quite honestly I was honored - they really had trouble believing that I was a guy!
5.      Shoes! I can't speak for anyone else, but I love my pretty shoes and it will be a cold day in hell before I travel in flat or boring shoes! Now having said that, you do need to use a little common sense. Two or three times I have headed off to a 12 hour day in airports wearing new shoes that I thought were awesome and reasonably comfortable, just to discover after a bit of walking that I had made a serious mistake because the shoes were too tight or too loose and wound up being very painful by the end of a day of walking. The moral of the story is that you need to keep in mind that a day of traveling by airline can involve a lot of walking and so you need to be sure that your shoes are going to be comfortable enough for the long haul and hike.
6.      You also want to keep in mind that your shoes will have to come off when going through security. A lot of women's shoes have a number of small straps and buckles that can make for an amusing spectacle for those around you while you are balancing and hopping on one foot while trying to take them off. So my advice is to plan ahead - either wear shoes that are easy to get off and on while you are standing, or just stop and loosen the buckles before you enter the security line.
7.      With the advent of the new back-scatter body scanners, traveling pretty just became a bit more annoying. It will quite likely flag you for further inspection if you wear a corset or if your garment has any kind of decoration on it like sequins. Not to worry though, because the worst case scenario has you pulled to the side and patted down by a TSA inspector of the gender that you are presenting as. In fact, in my opinion, you should just go ahead and be mentally prepared for this pat down inspection to happen in any case. It is quick and professional and no big deal, so just be mentally prepared for it and don't get anxious if you are called to the side for one.
8.      When it comes to wearing breast forms, you enter a slightly gray area. They are considered a medical prosthesis and so are allowed through the check point despite exceeding the maximum size for liquids and gels. The gray area is that I think you technically should declare them and send them through the x-ray machine to be inspected. In practice though, I have gone through these check points twice a week at countless airports around the United States and not one single time has anyone commented on it. My advice is to say nothing and just go ahead and wear them through the check point. If they want to make a fuss about them (and again, I fly a lot and they never have said anything) then the worst case scenario is that you may be asked to step aside for further inspection.
9.      Something that most women would think of but that might not occur to all of us MTF, is that the makeup you are carrying in your purse or carry-on is probably a liquid or a gel, and so it must be treated as such. This means that it has to be placed in a medium sized zip-lock bag and sent through the x-ray machine. If you leave it in your carry-on or your purse, it will be caught, and you will be pulled aside. If you do not want the hassle or the attention, then just place it in the zip-lock bag and place it in the bin as you are supposed to.
10.  Oh, and don't forget that your sparklies (jewelry) will have to come off before you go through security. Your wedding ring can stay on, and if your ear rings are small and modest, you can probably get away with leaving them on too, but nothing more. So take the bracelets, bangles, and large ear rings off before you go through security.
11.  Bathrooms can be a bit more dicey, but probably not the major show stopper that a lot of us would fear it to be. Most modern airports of any size will have "special needs / Family" bathrooms available that are gender neutral. Again, this is with the larger airports - all bets are off for the really small regional airports. All of the international airports I have been to have these private bathrooms, but some only have one or two, and some have a lot of them. I have not made any effort to specifically note which ones have them or where they are, but off of the top of my head I can tell you that Austin, Detroit, and Atlanta have them all over the place - pretty much everywhere there is a male and female bathroom, you will also find these "special needs" bathrooms. Salt Lake City, DFW, and Charlotte have a few scattered here and there through the terminals, but they are not at every restroom location. Oh, and don't forget that the bathrooms on the plane are gender neutral, so if you can hold it until the plane is up in the air, then you will be good-to-go!
12.  What do you do if there is no gender neutral bathroom available? I would have to be honest - I don't have a full-proof answer for you on that one and so you will need to make your own decision. Considering the possible consequences, I am going to be brutally honest here. In my case, I am not entirely passable, but I think that I am close enough that people are not sure if I am male or not, and so they are unlikely to make a fuss if they see me entering or leaving the women's bathroom. Now you are gonna have to be brutally honest with yourself. Are you at least passable enough that people won’t be sure that you are male? Do you think it will make a difference if they know for certain that you are a male? I can't answer those questions for you . . .




I think that takes care of most of the fussy details, so I'll also offer a few general suggestions:


1.      The very first trip that I made, I was scared to death, and so I had a “back up and punt” plan in place. I had a Tupperware container filled with water in my car, along with a washrag, soap, and a change of clothes. I figured that if things got ugly, my worst case scenario would have me washing up and changing my clothes in the car, and then returning to the airline counter. Mind you, I know for certain that you will not need this plan, but it may give you confidence knowing that you will have that option available to you.
2.      When I travel in the summer time, I carry a small bar of soap (think Hotel soap) and a small thing of deodorant in my liquids and gels bag. Wearing a wig, breast forms, hip pads, nylons, and a face covered in makeup, all while carrying my tool box, luggage, and a backpack around in the heat, can make for a bit of an unpleasant situation. While I have only rarely had to actually use them, I want the option of cleaning up and smelling presentable if I need it.
3.      I always stop before entering the TSA checkpoint and get prepared for it. I take my sparklies off and put them in my purse. I undo the buckles on my shoes, and depending upon the shoes, I may just take them off entirely and carry them with me. I take out my laptop and liquids and gels bag. That way, when I get to the x-ray belt, all I have to do is put my stuff on the belt, and reach down and slip my shoes off. This sounds silly, but I guarantee you that the first time you fly pretty, you are going to be very nervous and extremely self-conscious, and you would be surprised at just how ungraceful this is going to make you. You will be likely to fumble with and drop things, and otherwise look silly as hell, so it will be much better for you if you just get prepared before entering the checkpoint so that you just have to set your stuff on the x-ray belt and go.
4.      At the other end of the x-ray belt, don't stand right there to put your stuff back together. When you sent it through the x-ray machine, you probably had to place your things into a plastic tub or bin. Just pick up your bags and that bin and take them off to the side where you can always find seats set aside just for this purpose. There, you can put yourself and your things back together in comfort and without everyone standing around you and waiting for you to get out of their way. If you want to demonstrate the value of this principle to yourself, next time you get dressed, try putting your strappy heels on while standing, and just imagine that there are a dozen people standing behind you and waiting on you, and the conveyor belt in front of you is shoving all of your things and theirs down to the end in an avalanche of bags and belongings. But no pressure  . . .
5.      As hard as it may be to do while you are scared and nervous, try to relax and enjoy yourself, and try to be friendly to people. We are a bit unusual, and not everyone has actually met people like us. You have the chance to make their first impression of the transgendered, so do us all a favor and try to show them someone that smiles and is friendly!

All that I have provided above is based upon my own personal experience, and so may be considered subjective, so I am also adding a link to a page on transequality.org that provides you with the official links and information regarding the topic. My thanks to Amanda Daniels and Mara Keisling for bringing it to my attention!

http://www.transequality.org/Resources/AirportSecurity_November2013.pdf


53 comments:

  1. I have also flew a few times "Pretty". I also, have never had a problem! I have even flew into the Bahamas. I presented my passport! The custom inspector looked a my eyes and said; " Yup, Blue thank you MAM! Welcome to Freeport!" She was profesional and nice! You can ask for anything more! I was truthful and went through just like everyone else! No BIG Deal! Tammy

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    1. i loooove the comment from the inspector " yep blue eyes" LOL

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  2. great advice Kim.
    it's all about confidence and attempting to blend in.
    thanks for sharing.

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  3. How tall are you Kim? How would a 6'6" girl do flying pretty? I don't think I would ever try it but I do drive pretty. You are a pioneer for girls like us. Thank you!
    G.L.U.E. Girls Like Us Everywhere. Even on airplanes!

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    1. I am 5'9". How would you do? Damned if I know, but if you are working under the impression that I "pass" even at my height, you would be wrong. I pass from a distance, but everyone that I talk to knows exactly what I am and THEY DON'T CARE.
      So really the question is, can YOU accept knowing that people you interact with will know what you are?

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    2. Yes - once I open my mouth, I'm also clocked right away. But, I've not found this to be a problem in SF. With this being said, I'm thinking of investing in voice training, so that I can speak in a voice 1/2 octave higher than my normal voice register when in femme mode.

      Also, I'm thinking of electrolysis - so I can stop thinking of my 5 o'clock shadow when out for more than 6-8 hours.... This investment will depend on my continued employment....

      Marian

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  4. I really like that comment you made about YOU being the one who does not care about passing. In the end once you gain self acceptance, it frees you from those worries and allows you to relax and have a sense of humour. Bravo girl!

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  5. Btw I put a link on my blog to yours Kim! Mine is joannabefree.blogspot.ca......hope you get a chance to check it out....joanna

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    1. Not caring has to be a big part of being accepted.... I'll soon be taking a vacation and spending several days en-femme. And for me, trying "to pass" is my way of not being a parody of the female image. By respecting the female image, I expect to make it easier for people to accept me in the role - whether or not I am being "read".

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    2. Joanna -

      I hope to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers one day and compare notes. It seems like all of them have taken an attitude of being proud of who they are, being comfortable in their own skins, and reaching out to others. (The top 3 on my list are Kim, Meg, and Stana....) Who knows, maybe this will happen.

      MAM

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    3. I would like that too! I think you just get to a stage when you say screw it life is too damn short. Who cares what others think. If only the net had been around when I was young

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    4. Joanna -

      So true! I hope to see the day where no one will care what we are wearing. One relatively young person on Flickr (referenced in Stana's blog) is obviously a man in a dress, and no one seems to care in the place where he works. With more people like him in the open, being accepted, I may just see that day sooner than I'd expect....

      MAM

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    5. Mam I am now at the point where I don't care what people think I am - woman,man,TS....as long as they are respectful...

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    6. Joanna -

      Respect - that's the key thing!!!!

      For the most part, if you show people respect, they will show it right back. And that's the impression I get from all the people who have "traveled pretty". They treat the people they encounter with the respect those people deserve, and it is shown right back. Yes, there will be idiots who give the larger groups bad names. But for the most part, people all want the respect of their fellow humans.

      A lady I'm seeing knows about my interest in cross dressing, and has been very encouraging - even though it is not her turn on. In her office the other day, a person came in one day in male mode, and casually mentioned to a staff member that he'd be looking very different the next office visit. When he visited the second time, en femme, my friend called out the last name - and noticed that he was cross dressed. Not batting an eyelash, she noticed his reaction to his last name, went to him and just said - "excuse me, please come this way". Inside the office, she noted my relationship to her and made this person feel at ease. Isn't this all what we'd hope for in a similar situation?

      MAM (Marian)

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    7. Love the conversation going on here and agree with absolutely everything the both of y'all are saying! :)

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  6. Me too Kim! I'd love to meet both you and Marian. Come to think of it throw in Stana as well. Us gurls would have a great old time comparing notes. I am slowly but surely coming to such a comfort zone with my dressing that I go to banking appointments and notary appointments as a woman. The ensuing conversations have been nothing short of amazing!

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    1. Joanna -

      I'm not there yet. Where you are going out in your home town, I'm starting off in a safe city 2,500 miles away. The "guarantee" of anonymity in a TG accepting place makes it easier for me to take my first steps out...

      Yesterday, I went makeup shopping with a GG - and started feeling very uncomfortable. Part of it is because (as I realize now) that my friend generally doesn't wear makeup, and did not have much of a clue about what I needed. (My research on the internet made me better prepared - but I didn't want to say that to her.) So, rather than waste her time, I ended our shopping trip a little early - which was probably a benefit to her for reasons not related to this discussion.

      So, I ended up deciding that I'll probably go for a makeover when I'm on vacation - and buy my essentials there, save for the Dermablend base I'm starting with for beard shadow cover and the lipstick I'll be using.... (both of these are already in my possession, thanks to mail order.)

      Marian (MAM)

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  7. Kimberly -

    In packing for my vacation, I realized that I could have a practical reason to fly pretty.... Since I want to enjoy being pretty on vacation, it would have been easier for me to not pack the breast forms, wig, etc., and wear them in transit. The space and weight this would have saved in my luggage is amazing! I can only guess what the attendees of Southern Comfort will soon be going through to attend the convention in Atlanta....

    My goal for the next year is to get as comfortable as possible being out 'en femme' (including voice training), so that I can travel pretty next year for my next big vacation.... Of course, I'll schedule it at a different time, so that if I have the money, I also can attend Southern Comfort....

    MAM

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    1. Baggage weight! That is something that I didn't think of. I'm always within a half pound of the limit. Also, posting on this type of site. I have to learn what my URL is or get one of those accounts in my CD name. Not sure how to do that but it can't be hard. A nice project for a Sunday morning. For now, I'm anonymous...Anonymous Robbin_Sinclair. Nice information. Thank you.

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  8. I only had the opportunity to fly pretty once. The high points: that pat down by a nice female agent, and being told (twice!) that "you have the wrong ID, ma'am."

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  9. Meg -

    I'm hoping that by this time next year, I'll be able to afford another trip to the SF Bay Area, have lost some weight, and mastered both feminine presentation and voice.... Eventually, I may consider Electrolysis like Kim - and fly pretty now and then! (Kim - does your voice instantly give you away as being genetically male?)

    MAM (Marian)

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  10. Marian, I have not had electrolysis but wish I had. I've used the laser, and after about a year, much of it is now growing back :(

    As to my voice, while it is not terribly deep, it is not a female voice either, so yes - I'm pretty sure that my voice gives me away to anyone that I speak to. This used to be a problem for me and I would often go out of my way to not speak to people until it occurred to me that I was probably coming off as rude. Eventually I just decided to speak to people when and if I wanted to, and to just accept that this means some people will definitely know what I am as a result. I have to say that I have never regretted this decision either, because I've had wonderful conversations with people as a result, and also suspect that I've helped "our cause" as a result of being friendly.

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  11. Kimberly -

    Today, I had one of the more pleasurable experiences on vacation. One of the things I wanted to do, was to be en-femme around 95% of the time I was in California. Well, today, I drove to Monterrey from SF, then went shopping at several stores in outlet malls. And the help in these stores was fantastic - in fact, one store helped me see how good one dress would look on me, that I might have ignored before... (they also gave me a way to take this summer's item into the fall with the addition of leggings....)

    Of course, my femme self is becoming a clothes horse.... Now, to get at least one wearing out of everything before I leave for the midwest on Sunday....

    MAM/Marian

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    1. Good for you Marian! :-)
      Once you get out and about, it sort of pisses you off that you wasted so many years being afraid to go out into the world doesn't it? :)

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    2. Kimberly -

      It sure does! Mind you, I'm going out in a "safe" place, the SF Bay area (and in areas within its orbit) where (last year) a politician wanted to enact a law requiring nudists to carry towels for use when sitting (public nudity is not a crime here). Where I live, it's not as laid back. But if you had no problems when visiting Fishkill, NY, then it may be safe for me to go out as well.... (I wish you published your email address - would like to send you a picture of me in SF.)

      Of course, being out comes with problems - one has to buy a full second wardrobe, including shoes, purses, coats, etc.... I can only imagine what this will cost to buy the basics which will fill my other closet. And even harder - how will I break it to some potential SO, that I enjoy dressing pretty?

      MAM/Marian

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    3. And a followup....

      After taking the train to Chicago from the Bay Area, I decided to go out pretty and got "Mam'ed" when shopping in a local store. It's such a nice feeling for us gals, wouldn't you agree?

      Marian

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  12. It was last February that I flew pretty (nice word for it btw) from Norway back to home and of course I was also very nervous in the beginning. But eventually I was more relaxed passing security than in drab mode. I almost missed my connecting flight as I had to rush head over heels (on heels) from one end of the airport to the other due to the abysmal short layover time. Next time I would keep a bit of makeup with me, just in case as everything was in hold luggage. As a precaution measure I kept a series of photos with me showing the makeup removal process from pretty back to the person on the passport picture. Luckily I didn't needed that. Otherwise than that I basically came up with the same rules as you did

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    1. Mirelle, even with all of the travel that I do, I have never "flown pretty" on an international flight. Since I travel for my job, I just can't take the chance that I wont be allowed to enter the country I've traveled to! I can just imagine trying to explain to my manager why I can't enter a country that he has paid to fly me to! That would be a very ugly conversation I think! ;-)

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    2. Well it was holidays and in Europe we have something called the Schengen zone which means there is customs but not immigration control with thorough passport scrutiny. And I new Norway was pretty relaxed. If I would do this during job time it would be a bit harder as there would be also non suspecting colleagues with me. Can't have that eh :P

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  13. I'd be in a heck of a jam if I worried about what staff in an airport thought about my flying presentation. I'm a lot of years post-surgery. I *think* I pass on most days but there are still times when I feel I'm not looking my best ... and it shows, too, in my demeanor. So I don't always "pass", but because I am post-surgery all of my legal identification is now female. So, pass or not, once I'm in an airport I have no choice but to carry on the same as any other woman. Sometimes I get an oddly asked question from security, or an askance glance from a customs guard, but for the most part, with all my paperwork in order, flying pretty (nicely coined, by the way) is usually more uncomfortable for the people who read me than it is for me.

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  16. I am a trans ally but I will never stop being sad when I see trans women essentializing with all this being "pretty" stuff. It's so damn oppressive if you've grown up having "pretty" forced on you as something inherently female, from the moment of your birth, minimizing you and dehumanizing you and turning you into a "pretty" little bauble who is to be loathed if you don't go along with the pretty, pretty, pretty. Attacked and loathed and raped even...because a dick will cure an uppity, non-girly girl of her desire to be more than pretty, you know. Arrgh! Female does not equal pretty! Being female and being "pretty" are not synonymous! I often cry in frustration when I come across trans women making this big deal out of "pretty," acting as if it's a female given. "Flying pretty" is so problematic." I wish as our fellow women trans ladies would more often give some long, serious, ally-ish thoughts about what other women grew up being told, about what "pretty" as a lifelong refrain and (essentialist) harangue does, about what a betrayal all this emphasis on "pretty" can be. Why not "fly female"? From the moment I was born, "pretty" was the thing that oppressed me, and I guess I expect more from trans women and others who know what it's like to suffer for not conforming to gender norms.

    Plenty of cis women use language and ideas emphasizing looks above all else too, but for some reason I guess I do expect more of trans women due to their knowing full well what it's like to be second class in this world. Cis women are socialized from the first infant cry to dim their lights in service of "pretty." Trans women don't have to join in this oppression they weren't raised to internalize to the same degree. Sigh. Congratulations on coining a term that hurts women I guess.

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    1. Wow, I have no idea how to reply to that. Clearly the phrase has hit a nerve with you, and I of course take no pleasure in that.
      I do deeply appreciate your heaping the responsibility for a lifetime of angst and anxiety onto my shoulders for using a simple phrase meant to be light hearted and cheerful though. God knows I haven't got enough things in my life to feel bad or guilty for. . .

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  18. I am flying "pretty" tomorrow, my first and am as scared as Ive ever been. I am an experienced traveler, but never pretty. The security and airport process has me nervous, but more so I think sitting on a plane so close to another for 3 hours has me more scared.

    The blog is great and helps a lot, so do all the comments. Any other words of wisdom are appreciated.

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    1. Sure - RELAX - that's it. That's all I've got. Just relax . . .

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  19. Well, you have very well explained so many thing that often comes in min of many people who met you while traveling and I hope they definitely get the answers for their queries.

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  20. Hey Kimberly. I read your blog often. Thanks for sharing. I will be "flying Pretty for the second time and the first one completely solo AND from my local little airport here (LIT) Oct. 1. I was curious if you have any updates or amendments to add to you excellent blog post thats worth mentioning? I have tried to think of everything. My back-up plans have backup plans! I have that blog post of yours printed and even have some of it nearly comitted to memory. I even signed up for the TSA pre-check program to hopefully add another layer of confidence. TSA people I get. Just do what they say. They are trained for this sort of thing but would you mind shedding any insight on checking ones suitcase with the airline?

    Stephanie

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  21. wonderful advice and info..so it looks like you are usually waring hose...I have a worry that I will get a run from taking my shoes off...do you care an extra pair of hose in your purse?
    thanks
    Joy

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    1. As a matter of fact I do. :-)
      Before I started carrying a spare set, I had a major run once.
      Since I have started carrying them, I've not needed them.
      Funny that . . .

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  22. The following is a letter that I just sent to TSA. So much for flying semi-pretty:
    I was travelling from Washington DC on Sunday. Although I am a 6' 4" married man, I occasionally crossdress wearing one or more articles of clothing that are generally worn by women. On Sunday, I wore a bra to the airport. I didn't think that anything could go wrong because more than 50% of the population wears bras and they aren't stopped going through security. Turns out I was very, very wrong.



    I went through the screening machine and was immediately stopped. An older TSA gentleman said that he needed to do a patdown. He immediately honed in on my upper back and asked what I was wearing. When I said a bra, he took three steps back and looked absolutely aghast. He stuttered unbelievable, "but you are a man!" I said that yes I was and that there were all types of people in this world..... and I was one of those types. He told me that he was uncomfortable; I told him that him looking me like I was a freak was making me uncomfortable. He asked me to sit down to the side. He then went to consult with another TSA agent.... and then consulted with another TSA agent..... who pulled over a supervisor..... who pulled over another supervisor..... who then came and talked to me...... and then consulted with yet three other agents...... who then found two other agents to take me into a private screening room, pat me down, and sent me on my way.



    They did mention a couple of times that they have to screen me "as I present myself". Yep, I saw similar language on the TSA website. I would suggest that the approach is rigid and archaic in our quickly evolving society. Simply because I decided to wear an article of clothing that, granted, is normally worn by the other gender should not be a reason to single me out and publicly humiliate me. I don't choose to "present" as a woman and it should not be a binary choice. Are all men that wear a necklace or earrings pulled over for additional screening? I consider both effeminate. Are women that "present" themselves as men by wearing pants and a tie pulled over for additional screening because they are wearing a bra? I suspect not.



    I have two overall concerns:

    1) As mentioned above, I believe that the overall approach is archaic and rigid. Pulling aside a man for additional screening simply because he wears a bra is ridiculous. We may not agree on that.

    2) The lack of respect and attention to my privacy was appalling. The older TSA agent backing away from me like I had leprosy and staring at me like I was a freak was humiliating. Equally so was sitting in a chair for 15 minutes while no fewer than 9 TSA agents stared and pointed at me.



    I have spent 40 years feeling like a circus freak. Super effeminate gay men, butch lesbians, fully switched over transgendered, dwarfs, 600 pounders, interracial couples....... all OK. But a middle age guy quietly wearing a bra under his shirt is all kinds of freaky.

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    1. Oh wow, that does sound like a nerve wracking ordeal! Out of fear for the very situation that you found yourself in, I've never worn anything like that while presenting as male. If I'm going to cross dress in the airport, I go all of the way, and so I've never quite been in your situation.
      If I remember correctly (and my memory sucks) when they first started using the new back scatter machines, the operator had to basically tell the machine that it was a man or a woman going through the device, and it would then presumably ignore a bra on the female. The first few times I went through these machines in Austin, I think the smart ass operating the machine was telling it that I was male, so I got flagged every time I went through one of the damn things. Even then, they treated me with respect and didn't freak out. Somewhere along the lines they apparently changed their policy to set the machine to the way the person being inspected presents instead of what the operator decides it should be, and so I haven't been pulled aside in the many years since then.

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  23. Very helpful info, being an actor I can attest to the fact that if YOU feel confident it will put those around you at greater ease. Not to say they will all think you're Miss America, but it will make the interaction less tense.

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  24. I have only flown pretty on one trip. I figured if I got cold feet I could fly as my male self on the return trip. I was committed to be the woman I am on the inside on the outside as well. It went so well I made the return trip in female clothing. What a thrill it was to just be another passenger and not a guy in drag on the plane.

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  25. Flying "pretty", a la, as a transvestite, is not the same thing as flying a transgender person. I'd appreciate it if you men in dresses would stop making the rest of us look bad, thanks.

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    1. And I'd appreciate it if you go be high and mighty elsewhere. I am no more or less a "man in a dress" then you are. I'll tell you what I do have that you apparently don't - decency. It would NEVER occur to me to be so rude and say something so hurtful to someone that I didn't know. Please feel free to be arrogant and hurtful somewhere else

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  26. I'm flying across the country in January and it will be the greatest thing for my psyche to be able to fly as Heather. I've read your postings and I hope it'll be no big deal. I'm to a point in my life that what matters to me is more important than what others think or see. I'm not trying to pull a fast one or deceive anybody, just trying to be me. Thank you for your informative posting.
    Heather

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  27. I flew pretty for the first time this past fall.It was a great experience and I felt so at ease that I spent my whole vacation en femme. Of course I had to go shopping as two outfits would absolutely not be enough.Shopped for makeup at the local mall and the woman at Estee Lauder counter did a makeover for me. She asked a lot of polite questions and we ended up having lunch at the food court. She was surprised to find out that many of us who cross dress are not homosexual.My wife until the timeshe passed away way too young always said she had the best situation having a husband and girlfriend all in one person Not only did I have a great vacation but I was able to open someones eyes about us girls.

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  28. I love your skirt in the picture for this post. I've been looking for one similar to it. Do you happen to remember where you bought it?

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