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By The Way
Detours with locals. Travel tips you can trust.

What it’s like to travel as a transgender woman

For trans travelers, airport security can be an anxiety-inducing experience

When my grandfather fell ill in 2021, I immediately booked a cross-country flight to see him. Unfortunately, air travel is a bit more complicated for me as a transgender person than it is for the average flier.

From worrying that my driver’s license bearing my birth name and gender might cause a holdup at security to receiving an invasive pat-down by TSA personnel, flying as a trans woman has been an anxiety-inducing and demoralizing experience.

You asked: Can I refused a TSA pat-down?

I’ve always wanted to travel — to see new places, try new foods and learn the languages of the places I’m visiting. But my final visit to my grandfather left me wondering whether future travel — at least by plane — may not be in the cards for me.