It’s the weekend before the Thanksgiving holiday (US edition) and my family will be travelling next week. Â It will mark the first time I’ve flown since February, which is weird considering how friendly the skies and I have become during the past four years. Â It will be the first time I’ve flown with wife/fiance and kids in at least two years. Â As long time readers know, I’ve had some interesting experiences with the TSA during my many flights between Seattle and San Francisco. Â These have revolved around my use of a packy and the inexperience or intolerance of agents with regard to trans and gender non-conforming travelers. Â The last few flights I’ve made have had no drama, even with the full body scans, I’ve gotten no extra attention. Â This a good thing, but not aÂ guaranteedÂ thing. Â There are still too many stories about trans people getting caught in a security machine that has little patience for non-conformity, gender markers that don’t match assumptions based on looks or long complicated stories about anything.
Travelling during the holidays is stressful, travelling with young children, even more so. Â That’s why I am sitting here with a decision to make. Â Will I be packing as I go through security, or not?
If I consider the way things have been going of late for me, with increased awareness and training and affirmative policies in place with the TSA, packing would be a low risk choice. Besides, I’m an activist so of course I’m gonna welcome any opportunity to open eyes and educate people about gender.
Then I think for a moment about my family, my fiance who will already be way stressed out no matter what and our three year old who can’t be left unwatched for a moment, and my eldest who will be stressed out because of both of those factors. Â Though my eldest spawn would probably support me in my activism (being a budding activist herself), my fiance would not be pleased and every moment we aren’t moving toward our destination her stress and anger levels will rise and the toddler, whose behavior a good barometer of these things, will be less and less cooperative.
Since the second scenario terrifies me and wouldÂ guaranteeÂ a very bad start to our family vacation, especially since the Soon-to-be Mrs. Kyle hasÂ explicitlyÂ asked me not to let my packy get in the way of a smooth airport security experience for the family, I will not be packing for that occasion. Â Family harmony sometimes requires compromise.
I’ll tuck it into my backpack, wrapped in a hanky (which color??) inside a zip lock and hope the technicians watching the carry-on scanner screen won’t get curious or confused about it. Â And I will look for the soonest opportunity to tuck it back into my briefs where it belongs.
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