Sad facts of a trans family on vacation
Well folks, we did it, we survived our first family vacation “out” and in the south for that matter. Our trip was to Florida. The majority was spent at Indian Rocks Beach with a couple of days at Disney World. The problem was not with Flordia itself, but with the actual travel.
Travel for us is a double edged sword. A flight means TSA checks which if you have not thought about can be difficult for a trans person who does not have their legal or fully medical transition complete. For my spouse her name is legally changed, but we are still waiting on her legal gender change so obviously this causes an issue with security screening. Her ID says both “Emily Nicole” an obviously female name, but her gender marker is “M”. You can also use your imagination on why the full body scanner would create a whole other issue. Do they enter you as male or female and then body parts don’t match ect ect.
The other option is to drive. While yes we have a toddler, he is use to long car rides since we live 650 mile from our real home and we do that drive pretty often so he is a really good “road tripper”. The issue with driving becomes having to stop in areas we are unwelcome, both for legal and “ethical” reasons. It’s not unknown that the farther south you travel the less accepting of LGBT people the citizens are. “Bathroom laws” in North Carolina try to force my spouse and all trans people to use the bathroom of their birth gender and not the gender they identify with. They see this as a way to protect their children from sex offenders who will say they’re trans, dress as women and rape or molest children and women. This has literally never happened (oh because I have a news flash sex offenders don’t care about laws if they are going to go in a bathroom to rape or molest someone they will do it regardless of laws), but what has happened, continues to happen, and really is an issue is trans people using the bathroom that matches their birth gender and being assaulted physically and sexually and killed. So in places like North Carolina my spouse and other trans people literally have to decide between breaking the law and facing being killed…yeah that’s awesome and it’s really awesome for the spouses, parents and children of those trans people. FYI my spouse will break a law over facing assault or death per my vote.
The so called ethical issue people have with trans people can mean we are refused service, verbally harassed or again physically assaulted when stopping to get gas or eat.
This is our country people. The United States of America, the country founded on freedom, the country of the free and the brave, the country that guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, BUT trans individuals and families face legal and ethical discrimination that puts their lives in jeopardy. Quite frankly I’m ashamed, I’m ashamed that in the greatest country in the world, in 2016 my family and others like mine do not have the same legal rights or safety considerations as heteronormative families to eat, get gas, and use the restroom on a simply family vacation. I’m ashamed and you should be ashamed to. On June 26th, 2015 when same sex marriage became the law of the land president Obama said “when we extend rights to everyone, everyone is freer.” Amen Mr. Obama, amen! We should not be discriminating in this country and if we do where does it start and where does it end? Everyone regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or gender ID should have the same rights.
Another consideration of traveling away from my nice safe, liberal suburban Maryland is the loss of my family being viewed as “normal”. At home generally we, two women with a child are assumed to be a family and if we aren’t when we state that we are its no big deal, this was not the case in the south. “Do you want seperatw checks?” “Is this all together?”…um yes because we are married, but I don’t say this here for fear, which is another sad fact. For the safety of myself and my family I can’t be open about whom I’m married to? I don’t love Maryland and I didn’t want to move there, mainly because it’s not Michigan and it’s not where my family is, but I am grateful that in Marynd my family is safe. We are protected by pro-trans rights laws and being LGBT is widely accepted. I don’t face discrimination on a regular basis and talking about my spouse and using female pronouns or her name is met with normal reactions from those around me.
I’ll end on a positive note, we had a nice vacation. Had some relaxing time at the beach, spent time in Disney and took our baby boy to feed the alligators (his life is now complete), but for those of you who are allies we need your help, we need you to stand up for what is right and fight for equal rights for trans people and everyone, there are not enough trans people to fight this war alone.