UPDATE: Protest moved to Suburban Station.
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.
In 2007, trans-identified female Charlene Arcila was told she couldn’t use her transpass as she boarded the SEPTA bus she regularly took to work as a counselor for people living with HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. It wasn’t the first time the 46-year-old Mississippi native had this problem. Previously she’d been told she couldn’t use the female transpass, so in desperation she got a male sticker. To no avail. Now SEPTA finds its gender policies under fire.
Remember the controversy over the gender-identification stickers on SEPTA passes? It hasn't gone away. And it appears now that SEPTA R.A.G.E. (Riders Against Gender Exclusion) will be meeting with SEPTA general manager Joe Casey to discuss the issue.
Activists with Riders Against Gender Exclusion (RAGE) are set to testify at SEPTA's Citizen's Advisory Committee this evening. I wrote a story earlier this month on a growing movement against the gender stickers (which identify one as either "M" or "F") because of the their discriminatory effect -- bus drivers giving people the third degree as to whether they are "really" a man, woman, etc.
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.