So this happened…
I had my GRS back in May of 2012 (I really wanted to get it done before the world ended in December of that year…do you remember when the world ended? So cool…). I had it done in Montreal because Dr. Brassard and his staff at L’Asclepiade are amazing and wonderful folks. And Montreal is quite lovely in late May/early June. It was a reminder why I love that part of the world.
In any case, rather than fly directly into Montreal, which would have been quite convenient, I flew into Manchester, NH. One of my best friends who I had not seen in a long time lives there and he and I thought it would be fun if my spouse and I stopped in with him and his wife for a day and then road tripped up to Montreal together, driving through Vermont, which is one of my favorite places on Earth. Now I had no troubles flying into New Hampshire from Phoenix (where I lived at the time). The folks at Phoenix TSA apparently had no issues with me, even though I was somewhat nervous about traveling while trans (so nervous in fact that I got a camera ticket for rolling through a stop light a mile from the airport).
All went well to, in and from Montreal back to New Hampshire (except we all needed to pee really badly somewhere between the Canadian border and Montreal and there was the worst traffic going into the city and very little in the way of publically available accommodations). I was still in early recovery on the way back, meaning a steady oxycontin high and ice packs. The drive wasn’t a lot of fun, but I made it back to my friends’ place in tact and spent the night sleeping on their amazingly comfortable bed, much more comfortable than the recovery bed I had been sleeping in for the past week or so. The next morning, I packed up my stuff, made sure my dilators were in my carry on (couldn’t risk the airline losing those!) and my friend bid me a fond farewell at the airport.
I actually thought that now the anatomy was corrected, TSA wouldn’t be an issue and walked confidently through the full body scanner. And was promptly flagged. Promptly pulled aside for additional screening. I explained that I had just checked out of the hospital after major surgery, which was why I had medications. I didn’t want to have to explain why it was traumatic that the TSA agent was handling my dilators and swabbing them for chemicals. After a few misgenderings (even after seeing full body scan), they told me I had come back chemical positive for some kind of banned substance and would have to submit to further screenings in a private room. Meanwhile my plane was about to board. I showed them my paperwork from Dr. Brassard, that I had just checked out of the hospital and opined that it was more than likely the banned chemical residue was a result of my recent hospital stay. While the female TSA agent was kind to me as I was bawling because I hadn’t seen my children in two weeks, was in pain, and was certain I would not only miss my flight, but be added to some kind of banned list, the other TSA agents offered no such comfort and treated me most terribly. Finally, some clear headed individual decided I was good to go, but my plane was about to end boarding, so rather than send a courtesy vehicle for me to get there quickly, they ran me across the terminal (try running a week or so after major surgery, especially in the area in question, while carrying a heavyish bag and crying…it’s all kinds of crazy fun).
I was only a little injured…
But I did make it home. The thing is, pre or post or non, if you catch a TSA agent with a bug up their ass about trans, they will calmly go about fucking up any chance you had at making it through an uncomfortable situation with anything like your dignity in tact.