Butch On Tap – Why I Hate TSA

Please, follow this link to the story by my friend Butch Jaxon.  This is very typical of the treatment that butch women and transitioning people go through. Being publicly humiliated is NOT cool. I’ve been through it in many places and situations. read  on to see why Butch Jaxon “hates TSA” – excerpt below.  ~ Jesse MacGregor-Jones




Why am I ranting today?

You may remember that a few days ago the gay flight attendant called me sir. Right, duh. Anyway, whatever. Indeed, today as I am writing this on a different plane, the flight attendant called me sir, and didn’t even acknowledge me when I corrected her. Dumb people suck. But, the reason for my rant today is TSA. I am going to tell you why I hate them. [Hate is a very strong word and I never use it casually. Indeed, it’s a bad word in my house and the kids can’t use it either. So, I use it here today to really convey the depth of my anger…]

On at least 3 other occasions, I have gone through the body scanner at security and had to wait a moment longer, or be rescanned. I know that this is because they thought I was a guy, but my naked body scan showed a body other than what they expected – boobs and no penis, to be specific. Waiting in the security line, when there is a body scan has become quite anxiety producing for me. Will they get it today? Will they ask themselves while looking at the scan, “Where is that guy’s penis?” Or, “Why does he have boobs?” Ugh. How embarrassed will I be?


…for the rest of this story, please follow the link to ButchOnTap.

Categories: abuse, equal rights, lesbian, life lessons, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Butch On Tap – Why I Hate TSA

  1. I have really mixed feelings about this. I have had a ton of TSA experiences, (including a pat down after a body scan where they politely asked me if I preferred to have a male or female officer pat me down), and, while I have never been asked if I was a man or a woman, (I would have replied neither), I regularly have to go back through the scanner. The last time the scanner actually didn’t even scan me! TWICE it just refused to work.

    I’ve gone through it packing, (and packies show up the same consistency as plastic explosives), and yes, each time I go through they have pushed the male button. OK. They have two choices. 99% of people physiologically have male ‘parts’ or female ‘parts’. Because society teaches ALL of us just how to see male and female, those of us who fall outside of those norms and refuse to conform to what someone else expects us to be, confuse the hell out of people. Did we not confuse the hell out of ourselves until we began to embrace our unique gender identification and presentations?

    Should I hate or get angry at someone for being confused? If I were a TSA employee, would I not push the button that seemed most appropriate? Would I not then, under their rules for employees, have to ask the person to go back through after pushing the other button? Why yes, yes I would.

    If that TSA employee then makes fun, is sarcastic, rude, or disrespectful, THEN I have every right to get angry. (Though I probably would not because I understand that people fear what they do not know – however I would report it)

    It takes balls, (or vaginas), as big as texas to walk through the world as a gender outlaw. And yeah it is not fun. And sometimes it hurts like hell. But it is who I am. And I also remember that every chance I have to compassionately respond or educate is possibly THE only ‘known’ experience that person will have with someone who is gender non-normative. My job is to treat them as I wish to be treated. To expect them to mind-read and somehow know that this person who looks like what they expect a male to look like is really a female physiologically is absurd.

    Where is the compassion, the understanding, the patience?

    Do I sometimes get nervous going through it? HELL YEAH. Especially when I elect to pack. And when I do, I do so for this very reason…that perhaps I will have a chance to stand in the projections with love and compassion and educate….so perhaps the next packing Butch who goes through and deals with the same TSA agent will be treated a little better…with a little more understanding…. And I am sorry, but I did not read anything in this person’s account that showed disrespect or ridicule… Until society recognizes a 3rd or 4th gender, how can we expect any more than compassionate and fair treatment from those who still see everything in the binary?

    • Well said! There are always two ways to look at everything and I love, love to hear them all! I agree that I don’t think there was any disrespect intended. I do think that the scans probably do not NEED to be specifically male or female. I have honestly heard that they are possibly working on that right now. I think this simply boils down to the comfort level of the person being scanned? Some are not as confident as others and are more easily embarrassed or humiliated. Perhaps some are even too quick to get defensive? Maybe wearing a tee shirt that says, “I’m not what you think I am!” would help? Sorry…just being a little silly.

      For myself, having anxiety in social situations, on any given day I might be perfectly at ease if there were ‘issues’ and on another day I may want to craw into a hole and die. The fact that my ADD/ADHD would kick in at that point and the frustration I’d begin to feel would possibly send me into a full-blown panic attack that may turn into extreme distress for me is scary. When I get to that point, I tend to come across as angry, when in fact I am simply very, VERY frustrated and panicky. Therefore, I understand BOTH reactions and points of view. On any given day, depending on how I feel and where my levels are, I could react either way. Honestly.

      The main thing is that the conversation begins to bring up an important issue, which you point out – it is time we stop seeing things in binary. People are people and they come in all shapes, sizes, colors and yes, ….even gender identities. 🙂

  2. I totally agree with you, Jesse – and love the t-shirt idea. It breaks my heart that anyone suffers – especially when the cause of the suffering is not the other people, but the society and internal struggles within us.

    I am so not judging this person. It is this very person, and others like them, that I hope to stand in the stead for every time I stand up and, calmly ‘pack’ and challenge my way through TSA’s body scanners. And yet I also feel for those TSA agents who are probably clueless and awkward and unsure themselves how to respond. Beh…

  3. Jesse, thank you so much for sharing! Much love, Butch

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