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Tips for Traveling While Trans

Alright, so I was going to post this as a reply on another thread, but then it got really long and I didn't want to bump a 5 year old thread with this info, so here ya go kids – some basic tips and tricks for traveling while newly out as trans, or newly traveling while out as trans, or both. Being a traveler is hard enough at times, and throwing being trans into the mix definitely doesn't make it easier. But, in my opinion, it's better to travel and be who you are and want to be than sit around stuck, whether it's a bad situation or just a stagnant situation, so here's an assortment of useful stuff for helping people keep their skin intact and out of trouble when traveling while trans.

First, this thing: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003BEDURW . (If the link doesn't work, look up GoGirl Female Urination Device.) It's a little silicone thing that's designed to allow people with vaginas to stand to pee and it's absolutely awesome. It's small, durable, easily folded up and stashed in a side pocket of a pack, and after you practice with it a couple of times it's super easy to use. If you're a transguy who's not out, I super recommend this and just be careful that people don't see you slip it into your fly when you head behind a bush to pee. Also, on the subject of devices for vagina having people, if you are still having periods I can't recommend having a Diva Cup highly enough. It's a lot more discreet to carry than any other method of dealing with all that blood, it's generally safer and more hygenic for travel situations anyway, and you won't have to deal with trying to constantly buy pads or tampons and having to explain why you need them to people who don't know that you're trans.

This info here: http://ftmguide.rassaku.net/
While this site has a lot of shit that's not super practical for travelers (who the fuck can or wants to travel with all those clothes? Not me!), it also has a really good breakdown of how to pass better and not get taken for a butch lesbian. The silhouette section is probably the most important for travelers - you can pull off the gender identity you want if you pay attention to the details here. To quote a small bit, "When you're meeting a stranger for the first time, their brain registers your overall presentation (which consists of body shape, clothes, voice) and subconsciously designates you as male or female. If you do nothing to disrupt that initial impression, it will never occur to them to doubt it. They won't be checking for suspicious bulges in your chest, or lack of bulge at your crotch, or inspecting your small hands -- why would they? They already know what you are. That's what passing is." So basically, if you can get them to believe your gender identity from the get go, you'll get hassled a lot less and believed a lot more.

Be aware of the climate you're in and be aware of your rights. In a lot of places, "walking while trans" can get you arrested for prostitution because profiling is a thing, kids! This is especially relevant for traveler kids and hitchhikers, because simply doing shit like asking for directions and accepting rides can get you slapped with charges. Here's a news article from last year about this happening - www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/04/15/arizona-activist-found-guilty-walking-while-trans. She's an activist and a student, and this still happened - imagine trying to get off this charge when you're a traveler and already dealing with the problems travelers have when faced with law enforcement.

To move on from the point above, if you do get busted for prostitution, be prepared! A lot of places used to have laws on the books about how if you had three or more condoms on you, that was admissible evidence that you were planning on engaging in prostitution. A lot of places those laws have been struck down, but cops will still try to scare you with those tactics and I'm sure some places will still give you trouble over that. Personally, I buy condoms in 40-packs online because it's the same price as a 12 pack from a brick and mortar store and I don't see the reason to waste the money or possibly get caught without, but I also primarily travel from a home base or rubber tramp, so I have a place to keep the spares. The point is, make sure to be aware of the local atmosphere and laws, make sure you know your rights when it comes to being stopped, searched, and detained, and don't let them bully you into a confession, 'cause they'll try.

To continue with the law enforcement angle, be especially careful if you're traveling with your hormones and you have needles on you. Because needles are classified as drug paraphernalia, you gotta be careful about letting them be in sight and about making sure you have documentation that they're yours via a prescription. I also wouldn't advise carrying other drug paraphernalia or illegal drugs while you have your needles, because it's quite possible for LEOs to decide that the needles ought to be lumped in with the illegal stuff, thus potentially catching you more trouble/fines/jail time, even though you've got them legally. And remember – testosterone is a Schedule III controlled substance (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/) and possession without a prescription can carry a fine of up to $500,00 and 10 years in prison, if you get really boned (http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ftp3.shtml). So absolutely make sure you have your documentation correct if you're a transguy traveling, because otherwise you're open for some serious legal fuckery.

Moving right along, personal safety is paramount. People can be terrible and you have to learn to trust your gut about situations that can turn violent. If you're at all capable of using a weapon, I highly suggest you learn how to use whatever you're comfortable with and be willing to use it when necessary. That said, don't carry something that you can't or won't use, and don't carry something you're not confident can't be taken away and turned against you. Everybody is going to be different in this case and it's no shame if you're not a fighter, but if you can, do. Again, be prepared as far as local law, but do be prepared to take care of yourself if absolute worst comes to worst. I recommend a solid carry knife that you're comfortable with and have practiced with – pocket knives with blades under four inches are generally legal in most places (I think NYC and possibly some other major cities have stricter rules, double check if you're heading somewhere like that) and that four inches is all you need to get someone off of you and get the fuck out, if you've practiced and are prepared.

Finally, I'd advise to do a bit more research on the places you're going, if you can. Knowing which shelters are trans friendly and where the resources are can be incredibly useful when you're in a pinch. I'd post examples, but there's really no national database for this stuff so it would be way too long. Google is generally pretty awesome about giving you what you need to know on this and a quick “Austin transgender resources” or whatever can save you a hell of a hassle.

Anyone else have any tips? The more info we have here, the better, I think.
 

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Decrepit

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Joined
Jun 27, 2015
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11
Location
Everywhere
~Needle banks and types of medication forms (pills, needle, gel etc)~

My friends tell me some cities have needle banks to get clean needles at. I get my prescription mailed via a compounding facility so I have a large (not really but as large as you can legal get) bottle and need to carry excessive amounts of needles. There are also testosterone pills, patches and gels. These would probably be easier using on the road and i recommend the pills in that case over the patches and gels. (Patches and gels are more expensive unless you can get it covered via insurance). Injecting via needle is more popular among transmasucline individuals because it doesn't have to process through your liver like the pills do. However, it shouldn't be that much of a toll on your liver if you are healthy and don't excessively drink or use hard drugs.

~Injecting and hysterectomy concerns~

If you are still new to injecting testosterone as a trans individual (1-3years) (where ever you lie on the spectrum) the case of you needing a hysterectomy in the future is very high (i don't remember if it is 100%..might be) but over the years of injecting testosterone cysts will start to grow on your ovaries and cause mild to extreme pain. This will require surgery (a hysterectomy) for the pain to stop. If you don't listen to your body it can KILL and hospitalize you, it is not something to ignore. Injecting Testosterone in any setting should be prescribed by a doctor and you should get blood tests every 3 months when first starting out for the first year then afterwards every year. Failure to do so in the start can cause death again...your blood should be monitored so they can find the correct dosage that works with your body.

~Doctors~

Where to get a doctor for testosterone or estrogen and testosterone blockers ? Many Planned Parent Hoods offer transgender services, look up one in your area and give them a ring. I believe they operate on the informed consent policy (sign a piece of paper and meet them and your set to go.) There are some popular places that you can go to though, Trillium Health in Rochester NY. The Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia, and Callen Lorde in New York City.
http://www.plannedparenthood.org/

~Cost~
How much is my 6 month supply of Testosterone? Mine costs around 70$ and they send me needles and alcohol wipes. The compounding facility I receive them from is Strohecker's in Oregon. The only way to get an order from them is for your doctor or endocrinologist to send them your script. Sorry I'm not sure how much estrogen and progesterone cost (progesterone is for testosterone blocking and must be taken with estrogen for the estrogen to have any effect as testosterone is a VERY powerful hormone).

The blood tests and doctors vists are what cost most $$$. However, my insurance plan BCB covers my blood tests and visits. They do NOT cover my testosterone. There are many insurance plans that are starting to cover it now though.

~Chest binding~

If you are on the transmasucline or NB masculine or something of that sort and want a chest binder I recommend underworks 997 or trip top models. There is also a new company out called GC2B and from what i heard they are very comfortable and possibly better than underworks. REMEMBER never ever use ace bandages to bind, they can cause breathing issues and broken ribs as ace bandages tighten on themselves. Also, do not wear a binder when sleeping and try to only wear it 8 or so hours a day. If it hurts...take it off! Remember to measure correctly and if between sizes i recommend sizing up for more comfortiaiblity. I my self measure a small in the 997 underworks model but... i wear a medium because I wear mine everyday of the week for long hours. Cuz lets be honest binders suck....so just size up if you're gonna be traveling, it's more comfortable and tolerable. A good sports bra always works too.
http://www.gc2b.co/
http://www.underworks.com/men/compression-shirts-29

~Need help or feel overwhelmed and don't know what to do?~ FREE OF CHARGE
http://www.translifeline.org/
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

The translifeline is a transgender specific crisis intervention hotline number you can call if you need help or someone to talk to and relate to.
US: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366
--------------------------------------

The trevorproject is a LGBT crisis intervention organization, you can call them, text or even chat online with a trained professional.
Trevor Lifeline (866-488-7386) - it's free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Questions or concerns on anything?
Ask your friendly transgender dictionary resource here :p I used represent a trans nonprofit organization until I got to busy with other life stuff.
 
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shabti

Wanderer
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
178
Location
San Francisco, United States
I would give this moar thumbs up if I could. It's way more dangerous to be trans in this world than almost any other person. Information saves lives. I wonder if travelers might seek out LGBT safe places when traveling and in need of condoms or just...whatever.
 

WildeOne

Lurker
Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
1
Location
Los Angeles
If you're in Western Washington state and in need of trans-friendly sliding-scale doctors there is the Country Doctor in Seattle and the Community Health Care Clinic in Parkland (a suburb of Tacoma). I've never used any of the Community Health Care Clinics, but I have used the Country Doctor multiple times when I was broke and they didn't charge me anything because I was unemployed.

There many other sliding scale doctors in the Seattle and Tacoma areas (I believe the state/counties subsidize them), but I don't know anything about their experience working with trans-folk. There's a pretty active trans community in Olympia so if you're in that area you can connect with them and maybe they can direct you to local affordable healthcare.
 

Pronk

Newbie
Joined
Sep 5, 2016
Messages
16
Location
Pittsburgh
Great post. I am on the gel and I take PrEP, my biggest concern once I hit the road is going to be getting my scripts filled on the regular. I am going to talk to my doctor when I see her next about maybe getting a 3 or 4 month supply sized bottle, bit I'm not sure if that is a thing.

Also, one thing I cannot recommend enough is investing in high impact sports bras. I got 2 Nike brand bras for 35$ each. They help to keep the chest flatish and are a hell of a lot more comfortable than binding. I wear them at work since my job is physical. Might not be good enough when you're out in public but they're great for hiking or when you're alone and like me, you can't go topless or wear a regular bra due to dysphoria.
 
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