And this, friends and neighbors, is a terrific example of how -systemic- transphobia works. Via Helen of Bird of Paradox:
The fixation that every citizen is a potential terrorist has gained so much ground in recent years that any concerns about implications for international travellers whose documentation might not match their gender presentation have been swept aside.
Now, via The Wall Street Journal Online (link here) I see that the paranoia about “suspected terrorists” has been extended to domestic air travel too:
Airlines this week will begin requiring some people making reservations for domestic flights to submit their dates of birth and genders as part of a screening process aimed at keeping boarding passes out of the hands of suspected terrorists, the Transportation Security Administration said.
The government’s goal is to vet all passengers on domestic commercial flights by early next year.
Of concern is that the TSA appears to be relying on the judgement of commercial airlines to make these decisions; and these decisions can also be applied to people who aren’t actually flying, but just accompanying a passenger to the boarding gate:
The TSA said it would be up to individual airlines or travel agents to decide how to collect the required information at the time a reservation is made.
People who receive gate passes, which allow them to proceed into secure areas of airports without boarding passes so they can assist other passengers, also could be required to furnish the additional data.
In other words, if the airline staff don’t like the look of you – or the friend who’s come to wave you off – you may well find that you miss your flight simply because you wore that comfy dress, even though the gender marker in your official documentation dictates that you should have been wearing a collar and tie. It’s absolute nonsense, of course – and trans-misogynistic nonsense, to boot.
...[M]y y point is that being required to provide information about one’s date of birth and gender seems unlikely to deter a committed attacker from hir objective.
It’s hard to see how this measure would have prevented, for instance, the attackers on 9/11 from boarding their planes – and, once again, the people most likely to be adversely affected are trans and gender variant people...
No-match has other implications too, of course, for being hired and fired, for medical care, for being arrested, for any number of situations where "your papers, please:" unless there are specific legal protections for trans folk in place (which there aren't in most states and cities, and even then, what's on the books is not exactly stringently enforced when it comes to civil rights, particularly if you're talking about already-very disenfranchised people), for not presenting or identifying according to your legally identified sex. And if there's a situation where you need to disrobe and your body either doesn't match what the "M" or the "F' on your paper is supposed to represent, or doesn't fully resemble what "M" or "F" is supposed to look like regardless of paperwork, well...you're not supposed to exist, and can be treated accordingly with no recourse.
See, the papers represent more than national citizenship, date of birth, basic stats: it's a way of declaring -personhood-. Which boundaries hold you? What nation, what sex? Are you a citizen of Manland or Womanland? Are you where we think you belong? Are you God forbid attempting to straddle a line that's supposed to be a wall? Are you "real?" Prove to us that you deserve to get on this airplane, work in this job, get that emergency medical care, step on this land, breathe this air. That box you need to check tells us whether you're human or not. Your papers, please.
This is of course not unrelated to the paranoia over "illegal" immigrants, or even American citizens suspected of being such: no papers? Too foreign? Too brown? Wrong time, wrong place? You, too, are a non-citizen, guilty until proven innocent. You're in the wrong box, and we don't have space. You fall in the crevice between the box outlines. Too bad, so sad; just trying to keep the rest of us safe from our formless, nameless terror; we need names, we need faces, and if yours doesn't match any of the acceptable ones, why, we'll stamp it with our fears and lock you away, overtly or covertly. Denied, delayed, detained, deported. De-legitimized. Your papers, please.
This under-the-radar scapegoating is not anything like "hope and change." This is not keeping anyone safe. This is, in fact, killing people. This is wrong, and it needs to stop.