Transgender Community to Protest SEPTA's "M" & "F" Stickers Today

UPDATE: Protest moved to Suburban Station.

By Daniel Denvir
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Mar. 30, 2010

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The bizarre “gender stickers” (reading “M” or “F”) affixed to SEPTA’s accidentally-ironic Transpasses are ostensibly there to discourage fraud. But they have led to some very uncomfortable and even humiliating situations for transgender Philadelphians. Last June, we profiled riders who had been accused of not being male- or female-looking enough for their gender sticker, and were forced to pay full fare. We named one of them, Charlene Arcila, our No. 1 “newsmaker” of 2009.

SEPTA Citizen Advisory Committee Robert Clearfield has told riders to be patient, and that gender stickers will be a moot point once SEPTA switches to an electronic farecard system like the ones most cities use--which, maybe, might happen before we are all dead.

Today at 4:45 p.m., Riders Against Gender Exclusion (RAGE) will rally—in drag-show form—at Suburban Station. Fliers for the protest accuse SEPTA of being “a drag” and encourage riders to “show SEPTA what you’re made of.”

We urge SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey to show up and make his peace with the queer community—preferably in heels.

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1. tom tryman said... on Mar 30, 2010 at 08:03PM

“and this affects 3 septa riders. get a life losers”

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2. Dani Cailin said... on Mar 30, 2010 at 10:03PM

“it effects a lot more than 3. 1 in 1500 children are born intersexed. 1 in 2500 women are XY chromosome with AIS/PAIS. 1 in about 1333 are Transsexual with a lot more being Transgender. The Old Testament recognized 5 genders and the New testament fit everyone into 3. The code of Hamurabi, Roman Law, Sumerian and Persian Law all recognized and made provisions for those that were not Male and were not Female. Gender segregation has ever been used for discrimination and to deny people rights.

SEPTA drivers have used these stickers to make life difficult for people that are already marginalized, abused, and struggling with issues more important than what clothes they are wearing. We deserve to be treated as human beings. We are denied medical treatment even though we pay our insurance premiums. We are harassed by people whom we have never hurt or caused harm to. We are punished for having been born by the intolerance and ignorance of hateful people.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Mar 30, 2010 at 11:04PM

“RAGE has collected over a dozen testimonials of SEPTA riders - some transgendered or transsexual, and some non-trans-identified who were perceived to be gender ambiguous - who have been harassed or denied the right to use their Transpass because of the M or F sticker. Some of those riders now no longer buy or use Transpasses at all because their experiences were so exhausting and humiliating. Denvir's original story (http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news-and-opinion/Transpassing-Prohibited.html), documents how, when Ms. Arcila was denied use of a Transpass with an F on it, she bought one with an M on it, and was denied use of that Transpass as well.

Everyone should be able to get on a bus or a train to go to work or school without worrying about getting challenged or harassed.

We're not asking for anything extra. We're just asking that SEPTA stop using the M/F stickers.”

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