Monthly Archives: October 2015

October 2015 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI


Hello everyone! On Trans Talk this month I am going to cover three topics. First I’ll speak with Lanie Gray Macaulay and Hannah Miller, teachers at Olathe North High School who sponsor their Gay-Straight Alliance. Next I will speak with SOFFA leader Fiona Nowling and Marsha, a transgender woman who has been separated from many in her family as a result of her transition, and we will discuss the problems faced by transgender persons during the holidays. Finally, I will interview Oliver Bohanon and Natalie Hicks, who are working on a transgender documentary film project right here in Kansas City.

I will also give a breakdown of some of the LGBT news this week, and I will finish up the show with the community calendar update. I do hope you will be able to join me this Saturday, October 24 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on

Dear YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties – We’re Not Predators

Separate but EqualTo: YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, 4717 S. 19th Street, #201, Tacoma, WA 98405

From: Una Nowling, P.E. M.Sc.

Re: Your conflation of transgender rights with enabling sexual predators

To whom it may concern:

Upon hearing of your sudden change in policy to prohibit transgender members of your organization from using the locker rooms and showers congruent with their gender identity, I was at first just disappointed. As a transgender woman and political activist, I’m somewhat used to ignorance, prejudice, and fear walking hand-in-hand to marginalize my people and deny us dignity and rights. But upon reading that your spokeswoman Michelle LaRue said “The concern was that a non-transgender individual might pose as a transgender to gain access to our locker rooms and expose themselves to children and cause harm to children,” I became both disappointed AND cross.

Your managers report that you are responding to a “flood of phone calls, e-mails, and social media posting by members who are concerned about or opposed to allowing transgender people in transition to use public locker rooms.” However, at the same time you admit that your entire reaction is “It is fear-based. We’ve not had any complaints filed about inappropriate use of our locker rooms from transgender members.”

I must say, you certainly have a shiny pair of brass ones, don’t you?

Admitting on one hand that there are no actual problems, and you’re only reacting out of an irrational fear expressed by what appears to be a well-organized social media manipulation campaign – and yet, cracking down on the rights of transgender members anyhow, is just sad.

And somehow you feel it’s acceptable to do this, even under the extant Washington State Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60, q.v.) banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. You need to understand that segregating innocent transgender people at your facilities is no different than other ethnic and racial fear-based segregation which is part of this nation’s civil rights history.

Furthermore, your excuse for doing this attempts to “weaponize” transgender persons as the proverbial Trojan Horse which will allow child sexual predators to somehow have unfettered access to your locker rooms and bathrooms. You seem to be completely unaware that nothing whatsoever stops a child sexual predator from – wait for it – ignoring your rules and trying to gain entrance anyhow? The fact that you feel discrimination against transgender persons will somehow magically create a barrier against real sexual predators is both silly and ignorant.

And destructive to the self-esteem and dignity of your transgender members and the transgender community in general.

Please take some time to consider just how discriminatory your actions are, and consider that being on the wrong side of history is not a place most would wish to have for their life legacy.

Una Nowling

For Transas City

Sources: YMCA Backtracks on Policy About Transgender Locker Room Use

Pierce, Kitsap YMCA Transgender Policy sets off a Storm

32 House Democrats Advise TSA to Better Transgender Treatment

A group of 32 House Democrats have penned a letter to the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) expressing their concern over the treatment of transgender air travelers. Prompted by the recent mistreatment of pre-op transgender woman Shadi Petosky, who was held at a checkpoint for 40 minutes because of a body scanning “anomaly,” the letter is unlikely to lead to any change in TSA policy nor action.

The TSA, long having shown itself immune to the complaints of travelers and of government officials on their behalf, alleges that it reviewed the video of Ms. Petosky’s detainment and found “our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines.” That video has not been released even to Ms. Petosky, however, so it’s possible that instead of seeing what really happened, TSA officials were instead viewing the latest Transparent episode on Amazon.

It’s notable that not a single Republican felt the need to sign onto a complaint regarding the treatment of transgender passengers. Notable, but unsurprising. However, it’s also notable that of 188 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, barely 1 in 6 felt like they should sign this letter.

The core of the issue here with the body scanners is that for each person who enters the scanner, a TSA agent must push a “male” or “female” selection such that the scanner doesn’t register “crotch anomalies.” If you are a pre-op transgender woman and do not “tuck,” then you are at risk of being flagged as an “anomaly.” Likewise, if you are a pre-op transgender man, you may be flagged for lack of equipment. I’m unaware of any news reports at this time of the TSA harassing transgender men in this way, save for a couple of cases where a strap-on or prosthetic which was worn through security triggered an alert.

Being a very frequent traveler, there are a couple of things which I can advise to assist with this problem:

  1. Go for the TSA Pre-Check program. With this program you will often be sent through a simple metal detector, rather than a body scanner, thus working around the problem. The downside is there is a cost involved, a bit of paperwork, and you must turn over a large amount of personal and bio-metric information. What’s more, if you have not yet made a name or gender marker change, as soon as you do you may need to go through the process again.
  2. We don’t know exactly what happened to Shadi Petosky from an unbiased source. From her own tweets, we see that she was being harassed and threatened, and we see that she did push back – the only thing she seems to have done wrong, and something guaranteed to cause a problem with the TSA. From her 3:35PM tweet:

    Cop asked me what sex I was. I told him I wasn’t going to answer that question. I am complying but come on.

    OK, refusing to answer a question from the police is not complying, but seriously? There was no justification whatsoever for her abuse!

    The critical thing which I advise in ALL dealings with the TSA is this: comply. When they ask you a question, answer as factually as possible. When they tell you to do something, do it if it is legally and ethically possible. You cannot argue your way out of a screening, you cannot beg, you cannot appeal. You need to put on your biggest smile and say “sure! What do you need me to do?” Otherwise, you’ll end up confined in a small room with the police outside, hands on their guns, while your flight takes off without you and the airline rubs its hands with glee over the change fee they’ll charge you.

    When they ask your gender be brutally honest and open. Forget embarrassment, forget your fellow passengers gawking at you. They have their own problems and are so self-absorbed they won’t care. And in most cases you have no chance of ever seeing any of these people again. Smile, do what they say, and just walk on through, and do everything possible to avoid a conflict with government workers who are underpaid, overworked, under-trained, and over-hyped-up.

I had a “TSA experience” last month on my return from India, as my Pre-Check didn’t print for my U.S. boarding pass legs. After I arrived at Newark I was sent through the normal body scanner, and there was an anomaly detected – not from my genitals, but from my Dexcom blood glucose sensor. I was taken to a private screening area, where a female agent started to frisk me in great detail near my waist, and needed me to open my skirt to show my panties. I said “sure thing! One thing you should know, I’m a transsexual woman, just in case that matters.” The agent looked at me, looked down, and said “thank you for the courtesy, ma’am.” That was it – the search was over in 15 seconds.

I cannot guarantee that it will be that way for everyone, but I also ask of you – look in detail at the numerous YouTube videos of “TSA Agents Gone Bad.” In each video you’ll see that the entire situation gets out of control very quickly when the passenger starts butting heads and insisting upon their rights. If you want to get on that plane with the least trouble and fuss possible, you need to remember that until the legislation changes, your rights are an illusion when it comes to the TSA. In this screwed-up world of security theatre madness, make your decision – do you want to get to your destination with as little difficulty as possible, or do you want to be tweeting from a holding cell?

Source: Dems push TSA to reform transgender screening procedures