Getting signed up for the TSA Trusted Traveler thing wasn’t a big deal other than costing $85, which I wasn’t crazy about putting on my already smoking credit card, but it greatly reduces my chances of being harassed and delayed at airports.
In 2018 I intend to go see family, some of whom have never really met me.
Some TSA staff definitely go out of their way to publicly out trans folks in front of gawking strangers and hold us up long enough to make sure we miss our flights. The word in the community is that the harassment has gotten worse since January 2017.
Basically, you go to the TSA website and make an appointment for a formal interview. I was told to bring in my currently valid passport (has my now-legal name and the correct gender) and a Real ID identification (ditto) displaying a recent photo and my current address. Everything must match perfectly.
They have gone to great lengths to make the local TSA office where they do this as difficult to find as possible! Fortunately there was parking.
I made a point to wear a skirt and moderate heels for the church-lady look I was going for at the official interview. ( I am a church lady!) I tend to dress a bit femme anyway, but heels are dress-up clothes.
In the two-inch heels I was wearing, I was as tall as the last two first ladies are in their bare feet!
When I got there, a security guard signed me in. After a bit, I was called back to an office where a bored clerk checked my documents on a computer, took a good look at me and my picture, used a sort of press-on-the-glass device to take my fingerprints, had me use a computer that was twinned to the one she was using to answer a number of questions about my addresses, other names I’ve used (from her reactions and comments she made either she didn’t clock me or was indifferent to my dead name, which many people read as a girl’s name anyway), criminal history (overdue library books?), and swiped my credit card.
This morning I got an email from TSA telling me that I was accepted. It referred me to a web site to retrieve a number I must use every time I book flights for the next five years.
I am a Trusted Traveler!