Choosing one’s TSA groper
I got an e-mail the other day from a transgender group about its special problems with naked pictures and federal groping at airports.
“You have the right to have manual search procedures performed by an officer who is of the same gender as the gender you are currently presenting yourself as,” explained NCTE, the National Center for Transgender Equality.
The government might think that’s a little too subjective, with the very basics about a person in flux, but why notâ¢ Let’s say your “junk,” as it’s now referred to, is the same as the Steelers but you depart from the left coast on the way to grandma’s house for turkey and stuffing feeling all revved up and happy but also unusually frilly. So off you go to the airport as a sharp girl, dressed by Prada.
Flying home after spending a week where they’re still clinging to their mud boots, holy books and military-style hunting rifles, let’s say you’re feeling way more in touch with your original equipment and you head off to the airport in a rented Jeep dressed up in what thinkfashion.com calls the “new line of badass gear for men!” from Tommy Hilfiger.
So everything’s different for this flight and now you belong in the men’s line for a pat down by a maleâ¢ Not necessarily. NCTE says you have the right to be groin searched by “an officer who is of the same gender you are currently presenting yourself as,” but there’s this, too, from NCTE about the fluidity of the whole thing: “This does not depend on the gender listed on your ID, or on any other factor. If TSA (Transportation Security Administration) officials are unsure who should pat you down, ask to speak to a supervisor and calmly insist on the appropriate officer.”
The “any other factor” means that the correct gender line for unwanted federal probing is determined by the individual, not the agents. So someone trapped in a body with male junk, dressed in Hilfiger’s most macho gear, can still get in the women’s line as a female and get a female groper. The passenger could point out, correctly, that there are plenty of female hunters with their own guns who drink Yuengling straight out of the bottle, like up around Zelienople.
Or, given that this is America, not Iran, you can change lanes if your self-identity changes while you’re stuck in line. It’s “the gender you are currently presenting yourself as” standard, no time limits, where your correct line for a same-sex pat down is not made inflexible by way of clothes, ID, original junk or “any other factor.”
Some people might not like all this switching, but for those who are oscillating, the body they’re comfortable in can change after a few Jack Daniels in the airport lounge. They start off as Tom Cruise in Top Gun and end up looking at the jets and humming “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
I asked three of my retired buddies at Starbucks the other morning, males, if they’d rather be patted down by a man or a woman at the airport and they all said without a moment’s hesitation that they’d rather the opposite sex do the job. One added that “she should be a Catholic girl” — more trustworthy, I guess, after the guilt infusions, to not go the whole way.
The answerâ¢ Why not just let everyone pick the gender of their groper?