Riders challenge SEPTA's gender policy

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Jun. 2, 2009

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Via Twitterfriend @gregs comes news that SEPTA riders will challenge the agency's policy of requiring a Transpass to display M or F to identify a rider's gender. SEPTA Watch reports that the requirement is opposed because:

-The use of gender stickers discriminates against transgendered individuals. 

-Using gender stickers to prevent pass sharing is ineffective. 

-If the government is going to institute a discriminatory policy to solve an economic problem, then the burden is on SEPTA to prove such a problem actually exists and exists to such a scale to justify the problematic solution

-There is an economic cost associated with using gender stickers. SEPTA is currently spending money to defend the policy due to a complaint filed with the Human Rights Commission

The issue will be taken up June 30 at the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. See SEPTA Watch for more.

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1. CM said... on Jun 3, 2009 at 09:10AM

“This is ridiculous, first of all the notion that generically applying broad gender terms in society is horrible thing is ludicrous.

Second, what a waste of time. Actual gender discrimination exists everyday. If people actually spent a tenth of the amount of time they spend fighting stupid shit like this maybe they'd achieve something.

Third, male / female refers to one's sex, not gender.”

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2. MR said... on Jun 3, 2009 at 03:06PM

“CM, here are my thoughts on your 3 points (backwards):

3) "male/female refers to one's sex, not gender." -- I, for one, am completely unwilling to allow SEPTA employees to check between my legs to determine my sex.

2) "Actual gender discrimination exists everyday." -- Since SEPTA employees don't (and probably shouldn't) check sex, they rely on their reading of an individual's gender identity. Which is complicated -- lots of people, for lots of reasons, get their gender read differently by different people. For me personally, no matter which sticker I get, I face harassment by SEPTA customers & employees, refusal to let me use my pass, even eviction from a train. I call that actual discrimination.

1) "the notion that generically applying broad gender terms in society is horrible thing is ludicrous." It's not really the abstract question you're making it. It's a question of real people's safety, their economic stability, and their rights. The reality is that there are plenty people who don't and can't fit into other peoples' perception of what it means to "look male" and "look female." Gender stickers on SEPTA passes cause us to either lose a lot of money every month or face daily harassment for who we are.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Jun 3, 2009 at 09:13PM

“I've seen several comments from people online about this issue who've come to the conclusion that fighting for the removal of the gender stickers is a waste of time and that people who want to fight for something should spend their time on other things.

Well, I'm someone who has been active on a number of other issues that are larger in scope and I think its still important to take a stand on this.

For one, because for the people who do experience harassment it is a significant issue -- if someone spends $80 on a trans pass and then is prevented from using the trains by SEPTA employees, that can be a significant loss of monthly income for some people, not to mention the possible repercussions for some people if they don't make it to work on time because they've not been allowed to board a train.

Second, as trans people a lot of us are made to feel that we are helpless victims of systems, institutions and people who don't respect our identities and are not responsive to our needs. Taking action in any way to stand up for our rights is important for our sense of self-respect and agency.

Who's to say we can't fight small battles along with bigger ones?”

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