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.

The Trip to Scottsdale 1 (The Flight Down)

Today will be the first of probably several posts about my trip for FFS down to Scottsdale. This post will be a general wrap up of flight down. Other posts will be about specific events, dates or things but will not include the surgery related aspects. The surgery will be handled separately so people can avoid the details if they want.

The morning of 4/24 started out pretty good. We were both wide awake and head out of the apartment, driven by our good friend Torie (thank you!). The trip to the airport was pretty quiet, I was nervous (and I assume the hubby was as well), and Torie was exhausted from coming to get us.

Once at the airport though I got the have my first experience of the week that would turn out to be frustrating, and honestly not that surprising. We were waiting at the gate for Delta when I had to run to the restroom. I am dressing femininely now but I still didn’t feel without the surgery that I wanted to cross the bathroom border yet.

Not my best look landing in Phoenix, it was a rough morning, also yes I actually do need a bra

I got into the bathroom and did my business. As I am trying to clean up, make sure my mascara is on right (eyeliner issues) and I saw in the mirror a shorter guy, muscled and glaring at me. He stepped right up behind me, maybe three feet between us and watched. I finished looking at myself, turned to him at my entire 6’2″ and asked, “Do we have a problem?”.

First, I know I don’t pass, so at no point did he think I was a girl. However, he did seem to assume I am fairly meek, and to be honest I am a lot more meek now and risk averse then ever. The hormone issues later this trip kind of show why.

He stepped back from for a second and took me in. My only advantage is height, but also probably the lack of caffeine… I hadn’t had any at that point and some of my friends can vouch that it doesn’t go well without it. I can be aggressive and they tell me a little crazy looking. He raised his hands, “no man, no problem” and continued back into the toilet area.

Unfortunately that put me in a more self-conscious mood and less angry mood. I spent the time in the airport feeling uncomfortable with myself, looking in my phone constantly at my image (using the camera). The hubby was great though, he made sure to double check how I looked for the twenty thousand times I asked, he reassured me, told me he loved me, and was pissed at the guy in the bathroom for me (by this time I was more embarrassed and less pissed).

We got on our plane and was met by the best possible incident I would have this trip and a nice thing in general.

Hubby and I

The hubby insisted we fly first class for the surgery. He would rather pay the money for me not to be squished in coach on my return trip with head surgery. It would turn out to be an excellent choice and worth the little extra debt it cost.

We got on the flight and things were smooth, the stewardess was fantastic and during the coarse of the flight. She brought us some sort of biscuit sandwich breakfast with yogurt and fruit. I found I liked the fruit a lot better than everything else (my cravings and tastes have changed so much in the last year).

Somehow during the flight the stewardess and I talked and she asked about our trip to Phoenix/Scottsdale and we told her about my surgery. She was incredibly sweet before, but she was even more kind. Right before we landed she had put together a little care package out of first class foodstuffs for my recovery. While I couldn’t eat it, it was something the hubby could and her concern was outstanding. It totally made up for any issues that day.

Once we got to the Alamo Car Rental agency and picked up our car we were trying to decide what to do. Originally we were going to go to the Odysea Aquarium then check in, but we were already tired from the flight and had to go shopping for food for the week so instead we opted out.

We went to the hotel room and checked in, we then went to the Frye’s Signature grocery store and picked up the food we would eat for a week (we don’t like to eat out multiple times a day, and I wouldn’t be able to with the diet I had to go on with clear liquids and soft foods).

We got back to the hotel and pulled out our Apple TV. I had decided I was tired of being stuck on whatever crappy channels the hotel had and we brought it down thinking to just login to the network and plug it in. It turns out it is a little harder to do that, we had to deal with an idiot as we called the hotel’s internet people and asked them to add our Apple TV’s mac address to their network, which they did and it was 9 days of watching our own shows, only a super tiny tv screen sadly.

Ta-Da!

We then decided to eat some Mexican food from an area that should know how to make it and we were not disappointed. I knew that I only had 24 hours of eating normal before restrictions so I enjoyed some nice enchiladas and a quiet moment with my hubby. We ended up going to Habanero’s Mexican Grill and it was fantastic!

We then went back to the hotel and decided to call it a day and start watching Marvel movies. The hope was to finish them all and go see Endgame before we left.

That was it, our first day of travel down for the trip, not even any surgical info in there. Below is a general set of pictures