Our GWK Travel Expert, Denise Ambrusko-Maida, of Travel Brilliant, breaks down some travel tips when traveling with a child who identifies as transgender or non-binary. Transgender, genderqueer and non-binary children face unique challenges when traveling, so it’s important to be prepared, Denise says. Check out her video below for some tips to ensure you and your family have the smoothest possible journey.
#1: Take screenshots or print out documents: Don’t rely on an airport’s wi-fi! You’ll want to make sure you have easy access to all travel documents, so be sure to print out or take screenshots of everything you’ll need.
#2: Get to the airport early: If you do run into any issues at TSA and you have to advocate for your child, “it’s important you’ve given yourself enough time to do that,” Denise said. So be sure to arrive at the airport even earlier than you might think.
#3. Make sure travel documents match the name on your child’s identification: The first step in arranging travel, Denise says, is to make sure all travel documents match your child’s identification. “That means all of your airline tickets need to match exactly the name that appears on your child’s identification.” This is true whether you child is traveling with a brith certificate, passport, or drivers license.
Denise is quick to point out that this does not mean that your child’s gender identity needs to present the same way. If your child does not present in the same gender included on identification, “that is okay,” Denise said. “The TSA’s job is not to police gender presentation.”
#4. Request a private screening: Once you’ve entered the security screening, it’s important to note that the imaging devices are there to catch “anomalies.” Your child’s gender presentation “might trigger” something in that detection system. To avoid any issues, or potential stress for you and your child, you can request a private screening, which will take place in a separate room. Importantly, you as the parent have the right to remain with your child throughout the entire process.
#5. Pack medicine in your carry-on: If your child is taking any medication, it’s important to keep it close and accessible at all times — so pack it in your carry-on, Denise advises, adding that “if you have viles of fluids or syringes, I do suggest you let the TSA officers know that ahead of time.”
#6. Enroll in the TSA pre-check program: This program can offer you a pre-screening, which can help expedite the process for you at the airport. If you are traveling internationally, you can also enroll in Global Entry.
#7. Research airports in other countries: If you are traveling internationally, it’s important to note that screening processes and security rules may differ from those in the United States. So be sure to do your research — or work with LGBTQ-inclusive travel agent like Travel Brilliant, who will do that research for you.
For more useful tips for LGBTQ travelers (and some great vacation ideas!) check out Denise’s page at Travel Brilliant.