Thursday, July 18, 2013

Where In The World Can I Go With My US Passport As A Trans Person?

One of the things that's on my short term to do list is getting my United States passport.  I want to have that issue out of the way in case I get invited to participate in a future international trans conference.  

The cool thing about getting a US passport is you don't need to undergo genital surgery to get the proper gender code on it and it's on the voter suppression laws list of acceptable ID because of the $135 cost.

I do like to travel, and one of the things I regret didn't get a chance to do more often before I reluctantly left the airline industry was fly internationally.

Like a lot of people I have an international travel bucket list of which in addition to seeing the classic tourist attractions like Paris' Eiffel Towel, Beijing's Forbidden City, Tokyo's Ginza district, transiting the Panama Canal and Berlin's Brandenburg Gate I also have attending international sporting events on my agenda like the Olympics, FIFA World Cups, FIBA world championships and tennis Grand Slam tournaments.  

My personal travel bucket list has a mix of well known tourist things to do plus things that are significant to my culture as a child of the African Diaspora and membership in the international trans community.    

Nelson Mandela Robben Island CellSome of the things I'd like to do someday in addition to visiting Paris is going to the D-Day beaches in Normandy.   I want to see Robben Island prison in South Africa, look out of The Door of No Return at Senegal's Goree Island, visit Berlin, Stuttgart where my cousins are and drive on an autobahn, and travel to Holland and visit Anne Frank's annex. 

I want to go to Poland and see Auschwitz, see Mt. Fuji in Japan and ride a bullet train, visit Australia, hang out with Zoe in Canberra, see the Sydney Opera House and catch a footy game.  I want to visit London's Imperial War Museum and The All England Club, see Hong Kong, and spend some quality time with Naomi Fontanos and my transpinay sisters in the Philippines and take in the Amazing Philippines Show while I'm there.  

tiffany's cabaret show in PattayaI'd also like to travel to Thailand, see a show at one of Thailand's trans cabarets, spend quality time with Audrey Mbugua and Lindsay during a Kenyan visit.  I'd like to visit Canada and my Canadian homegirls cis and trans across the country along with doing a dream north of the border road trip

But because of the anti-trans animus being stoked in large sections of the Middle East, eastern Europe, Latin America, Malaysia and Indonesia and much of the African continent, there are some of my travel bucket list items I may have to postpone or scratch off the list period for the time being. 

Can't go to Russia or Nigeria.  They both have draconian anti-LGBT laws and Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympics in a few months.  Bye bye Red Square in Moscow and visiting St. Petersburg. 

Uganda, where Victoria Falls is located not only has a Kill The Gays one they have been trying to pass for several years now, it has rampant transphobia.  There are several sub-Saharan African nations in which transphobia is sadly on the rise.

The Middle East?  Same tired story of rampant anti-trans animus, especially in the Gulf States like Kuwait.  Egypt, the home of the pyramids has denied entry to transpeople into their country from customs and so has Dubai

Turkey is the second most dangerous place in the world for trans women and will be the host nation for the FIBA World Championship for Women next year.  

Brazil?  One of the most dangerous places in the world for trans women and the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics will be there.   Mexico?  Increasingly dangerous for trans women.    Greece?  Police harassment and unjust detainment of our transsisters, so that kills visiting the ancient Greek antiquity sites like the Parthenon.  The Caribbean?   We have heard the stories about Jamaica's recent anti-TBLG history.  Some of the other Anglophone Caribbean nations still have British colonial era anti-crossdressing laws on their legal books that could be liberally interpreted by the local po-po's to garner you some unwanted time in the local jails.

Bermuda?  While they just enacted a law expanding rights for gay, lesbian and bi folks, it's still open harassment season for trans people.

Central America?  Anti-trans animus and violent attacks on our transsisters in several of those nations such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.  Malaysia and Indonesia?  Anti-trans attitudes spread by fundie Muslims.  Hong Kong was detaining trans women, especially transpinays as you entered customs.

And that's before we even throw in my skin color and racial profiling as a factor.   The fun of just getting on that international flight to leave the USA after going through the TSA security gauntlet and upon your return going through customs as you reenter the US.

So where the hell can I travel as a Black trans woman who wants to see the world before she departs it? 

Theoretically, it's any place on the globe I have the time, cash and desire to visit with the exception of Cuba and North Korea in which US government travel bans are in place.

But realistically, the list of countries I can safely travel to as a trans person is sadly shrinking.

1 comment:

Zoe Brain said...

I've had genital reconstruction. But as I'm Intersex, not Trans, I can't have my Birth Certificate corrected.

Since Spetember 2012, Aliens with inconsistent ID - BC with one sex, passport with the other - are denied visas for the US.

Fortunately this doesn't affect US citizens. But it does mean I had to cancel a planned trip to your part of the world, Monica.