All posts by haileymelville2017

Body Policing: Journalist faces trans issues at TSA checkpoints

By Hailey Melville

This story was previously published in USA Today and Out Digital.

At the security entrance to the William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, I was handed a customer satisfaction card. It was small and green, just big enough for the airport logo, phone number and my comments about the service I received.

I felt sick. “In 20 minutes, they probably won’t be happy they gave this to me,” I said, struggling to seem tough.

My two friends, fellow graduate students from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, were moving quickly through the empty velvet-roped lines and it wasn’t clear they had heard me. I was muffled. At my senior prom, I told my date I loved her but my voice was lost in cafeteria-monitor-level Rascal Flatts. I wouldn’t find out for two weeks that she heard what I said. It was like that.

I had been lucky leaving Chicago. Instead of being told to remove my shoes, place my laptop in a bin, remove my jacket and step into one of those sci-fi full-body scanners, I was hurriedly shuffled through a metal detector. Out of my control but a pleasant surprise.

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