Phoenix Airport Encounter

I posted a bit earlier on an encounter at the Phoenix airport, but I thought I would go into a little more detail here.

The day before went really well. We ran around a bit and I went in and met some really great people at Senza Pelo Med Spa who would do my electrolysis. They were pretty damn spectacular and deserve a post later.  They did nine hours of electrolysis and while my face was puffy I was (and still am) happy with the result.

Me getting electrolysis

That night was fine, my face looked like a prize fighter had worked me over but my goatee area had never been that smooth ever and I was ecstatic. I woke up with the bruising on my lip and chin area and puffy. I was tired, hungry (as I haven’t been able to keep down food the whole time I was down there) and I just looking forward to getting out of the 110 degree Phoenix heat. The one good thing I had was my hubby who was doing what he could to take care of me.

We drove back to the airport and I couldn’t get out of Arizona fast enough. The last two days I have been getting a lot more rude side eye, or absolute straight on staring at me. I get that at home in Seattle area of course, but I get a hell of a lot more support. Also, I don’t have to panic every time I go into a bathroom, or get the annoyed looking women when I step out of a stall.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Arizona might have “come a long way” but it certainly isn’t close to the Pacific Northwest (where I still have to be careful). Not once did I feel safe, not even in boy mode when I had my beard grown out.

There were supporters of course, not nearly as many but I did get smiles, head nods and some people would come over and talk with me. Not everyone is bad, and I don’t think a majority is necessarily bad, but the majority is silent and that is almost as bad. Combine this to the stupidity of the Fox News channel that was on everywhere made me remember I am not safe and I am not home.

Fast forward to the airport. I had crossed security and that went incredibly well. They were respectful and there was a lot of levity when once again I got patted down. This time it was an elderly lady but she was pretty sweet. The only weird thing is when we arrived they seemed surprised that the hubby and I got in the first class line. They obviously assume all transgender people would only fly coach and were poor. I am struggling financially but only due to student loan and FFS payment, otherwise we do pretty good for a living.

We were in the main gate area and the hubby needed to use the restroom. So I did what I normally did and stood against the wall outside the bathroom. I watched the people go by and I felt super uncomfortable. I couldn’t put much makeup on due to the swelling, I was hot, uncomfortable and was getting a lot of stares (not even side-eye, but full on staring at me as they walked by).

That is when this one conservative looking douchebro steps up, not more than a few feet from me, pulls out his phone as he is making some snide comment I didn’t quite catch and took a photo of me standing there.

I am not sure at what point of what he did that I decided “fuck it” but that was it, that was the last thing I was putting up with and for a brief moment I stepped off the wall and up to his face. I honestly don’t know what he saw but he panicked and backed up. He obviously did not expect me to react aggressively, and for some reason even though I was standing straight I don’t think he realized I was as tall as I am.

I shouldn’t have reacted like that. It is dangerous there, I could have been broadsided by someone else. I am in a hostile state, with a hell of a lot of hostile people and the worst part if I get arrested (which undoubtably would be the case if it was his word against mine) I probably go to a male jail and if I am lucky it would just be solitary.

I stopped myself and he scattered on his way like a scaredy cat. I was really angry at that point, and disappointed in myself for doing it, and disappointed I had stopped myself. It was just a natural thing to step up and part of me thought I failed for not shoving him (growing up with bikers and a father who in my childhood definitely taught me what should be done when you are insulted… although I think by the time he got older and passed he would have been happy I didn’t do something to get hurt, weird how people change over their lives). I also felt like a disappointment that I might inconvenience the husband, or if I had caused a ruckus I don’t want to add any negative press to my other trans/non-binary people.

So I stepped back against the wall. I knew he had a picture, and I knew it was a useless idea to go chasing to get it back, so instead I took a picture of myself so I could post it. It gave me some sort of feeling of control (stupid I know). For some reason I felt I needed to get my picture out there before him. So here is my picture:

no glamour shot here – I was really upset

Pardon the grumpiness, the tiredness and the not even close too presentableness. Tired, sweaty and no makeup with bruising starting up on my face made this not my favorite picture. Oh and Fuck Him and the horse he rode in on.

Fortunately we flew out about an hour later, and four hours later I was in Seattle and immediately felt safer, and that I was home. So here I am now home, in my house and comfortable and still really upset by that guy.

 

A good TSA experience

Here I am this morning in Phoenix waiting for my all day electrolysis appointment (9 hours worth). I just wanted to report back my trip yesterday had good and bad when it came to being transgender, and especially with me having a beard. Let’s start off my series of posts with a good.

hubby and I, early morning 

I got to SEA-TAC airport early in the morning. They had a new setup for TSA security and unfortunately we don’t work for the DoD anymore so we don’t have Pre-check. We get into the line and as I am removing my stuff into the grey tubs, the TSA guy yells at my husband and is just a dick. We smooth that over quick and start to go through.

I step into the scanner and I know it is all going to hell. It does its little MRI/circling thing and I step out. This very nice lady asks me to wait and low and behold, the scanned image shows a huge yellow box around my groin.

I was totally expecting a shit show at this point, but I was incredibly, pleasantly surprised. She smiled at me and she explained that she had entered the setting “female” on the system, so when it found something unexpected in my groin it went off. To be honest I didn’t know it read things that closely, but I nodded. She then explained if it was ok with me, she would flip the settings to “male” and scan again.

I told her that was fine. The reality of my situation is I believe I am female, science bears it out along with my doctor, the government assigning me female, etc. The truth is though I still have a penis, no matter what others what to call it, it is still a penis. At least until I get a vaginoplasty. So I have no problem with this.

The scanner finds no problems with my penis at that point… but does find a problem with my boobs. The lady is still there, and by now two more guys have walked up (I think one was stationed there, and another, a supervisor I believe). This is where I was positive the shit was going down. I was wrong.

All three of them were incredibly compassionate. The lady apologized and said they would have to pat me down since the machine was going to find a problem no matter what. I understood and I told her “Don’t worry, it is ok. It doesn’t matter which of you do it, this is going to be uncomfortable for all of us”.

The lady stepped forward herself, and she kindly patted my boobs down. This was the least invasive way (I could have the boy do it, but he would have to pat down my groin). She was joking the whole time and honestly it was an overall positive experience. We said our goodbyes and I thanked them for being so cool about things.

When we walked away the hubby mentioned he thought they must have had transgender training since he came down with boobs three years before. They were not so kind, and they were honestly rude and freaked out when they had to pat down his boobs (before he had them removed).

Unfortunately I am a minority, that isn’t going to change and with the complete freaked out security mindset this will be my normal state of being. However, even with that, this experience was positive as I met three TSA workers who were kind, compassionate and respectful. This was probably the highest point of the day… especially after I arrived in Arizona.