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Thread: Is Flying Pretty Brave?

  1. #1
    Member LeannL's Avatar
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    Is Flying Pretty Brave?

    This note is meant to logically look at air travel while dressed and should not be taken as a put down to either those who have or those that have not traveled “pretty”. The outcome of posting this is hoped to be to encourage others to consider traveling en femme.

    A quick perusal of the “Special events and occasions” forum will find a number of our sisters who describe their adventures while dressed in the friendly skies. I have recently joined this club. I recently had a discussion with a sister about my experiences which got me thinking about why it has been as easy as it has been for me and apparently others that have described their experiences here.

    Let’s first look at the numbers. There are a lot of TG/CD/TS people traveling. In 2008 about 810,000,000 passengers traveled in the US. If half of them are male and 3% are TG/CD/TS (the middle of the ranges I see quoted), then about 24,000,000 trips are taken by us each year or about 65,000 per day. If 2% of us travel dressed, then there are over 1,000 of us in the skies each day. Of course, I have no way to estimate what proportion of us who actually do travel dressed but 2% may be low as I suspect that the proportion of pre-op TS traveling dressed is much higher. Obviously some of us don’t need to prosthetics when we travel and maybe should be included in these numbers. The bottom line though is that there are a significant number of males presenting as female traveling each day.

    The travel environment presents a challenge to analyze. On the one hand, the airport and airplane is a closed environment. Once you are in it, you really can’t get out unless you want to miss your flight or risk going to prison if you disrupt the flight. There are lots of people around you which increases the chances of your being read but most of these people are worried about getting to their gate on time and then they work hard to overcome their boredom by interacting with family members or reading a book. In other words, they are focused on their business and not others. So there are lots of people who could cause a problem but probably won’t notice if they even cared.

    As a backdrop to the herding of the masses, the environment is protected by a group of people (TSA) whose job is to insure your safety. They are also a group who are trained to follow the rules. In many (if not all) airports also are protected by an additional police type force (in Connecticut, Bradley airport is manned by the state police) whose job is to insure safe travel. Lastly, we know there are an increased number of air marshals actually on the flights. As you all know, the laws of this country do not make it illegal for us to wear the clothing of our choice. Similarly, the TSA rules explicitly allow the use of prosthetic devices including breast forms. So this group of people who are trained to follow the rules, be polite and professional are not going to single a TG/CD/TS out unless there is real cause to do so. (Make sure you don't wear that underwire bra so they have no excuse to pat you down.)

    Lastly, there is the flight crew. Again, they are there to make the flight a safe environment while keeping the passengers comfortable. Their other job is to get people in and off quickly. They have no reason to disrupt this process because someone is wearing clothes that don’t match what they think is the person’s “real” gender. Also, they often have no free time for them to do more than serve refreshments and their other duties and with most flights being full these days, the other passengers keep them busy.

    Lastly, consider the experience of these air travel personnel. This analysis started with an estimate that there are about 1000 of us traveling pretty every day in the US of A. This means that on average two of us go through each airport dressed each day and that one in every 30 commercial flights has a dressed TG/CD/TS person on it. All of this means that the people who are employed to make our travel safe and enjoyable will encounter us routinely and they have learned to at least tolerate us and many of them (especially flight attendants) have learned to understand if not appreciate our situation.

    So is flying pretty really such a brave thing to do? Of course, we all have to overcome our own fear which does take some bravery but compare flying pretty to going out on the town. Many of us hit the town by going to night clubs which usually involve people who have had too much to drink, walking at night on city streets without a lot of security in place, etc. We also go to numerous places during the day and night where we would have to rely on the generosity of strangers if we were involved in a dangerous situation. As I described above, air travel occurs in an environment which is designed to be safe for all involved. So to all of those who are comfortable going out dressed, I encourage you to consider flying dressed on your next flight. You will have an enjoyable time and it gives you yet another venue for showing off your good looks. I know that it has been more fun traveling dressed than not. I hope to see you all the next time I fly.

    If you made it this far, thanks. Please share your thoughts.

    Leann
    Leann

    Enjoy who you are but stay safe.

  2. #2
    Silver Member kellycan27's Avatar
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    Same thing happened to me the first time I tried bungy jumping...and didn't die. This is great! you need to try this! It's safe! OMG! You feel so good afterwards! Take a deep breath.. you"ll come down after a while. And Thanks for sharing.

    Kel
    "one day I'll fly away..... leave all this to yesterday"

    http://youtu.be/kR7NlgwVHHg

  3. #3
    Misses Member, Not Junior CallMeMeg's Avatar
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    I flew for the first time in July and blogged the whole thing. I thought the scariest thing would be the person next to me. I'd basically be trapped with who-knows-who for over two hours.

    It was fun. Lesson learned: unless you WANT to get hand scanned, don't wear a cinch with metal stays. Although that was a fun experience too.

  4. #4
    a tomboy no more abigailf's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post Leann. I is helpful.
    - AF

    Look girl, act girl, feel girl ... be girl.

  5. #5
    Member DianeDeBris's Avatar
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    Hi Leann -- superb analysis! Thank you, I'm confident you've helped many of us with your insights. Hugs - Diane

  6. #6
    Senior Member faltenrock's Avatar
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    great text - I love it. Hopefully I'll fly too sometime in the future

  7. #7
    Silver Member AKAMichelle's Avatar
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    You definitely made a good case for flying dressed. I have to agree with you that is more of a non-issue than you think at first. When I flew to Chicago dressed, I was so surprised that nobody asked for more information. They just pushed me right through security just like every other time that I flew. The other surprise was that my breast forms were in the my carryon bag when I flew home in male mode. Nobody said a thing and again I was pushed right on through security.
    Michelle

  8. #8
    Member LeannL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CallMeMeg View Post
    I flew for the first time in July and blogged the whole thing. I thought the scariest thing would be the person next to me. I'd basically be trapped with who-knows-who for over two hours.

    It was fun. Lesson learned: unless you WANT to get hand scanned, don't wear a cinch with metal stays. Although that was a fun experience too.
    Meg,
    My only fear is having a seat next to a young child. I recently had such a flight while traveling drab. The child wanted to interact with me through most of the flight which I did. I enjoyed it but if I was en femme I suspect that I don't want to get into why I was dressed as a girl should she have figured it out that I was a guy. From my early experiences of being out, really young children were really good at picking up on mannerisms, etc.

    Otherwise, I think I have spoken to more people sitting next to me than I have not. Interestingly though, the teen age and twenty something girls/women around me haven't been a problem.

    Here's to enjoying your next flight

    Leann
    Leann

    Enjoy who you are but stay safe.

  9. #9
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    Hope fully one day i can travel as ME . I never had fear in drivingcar to malls /highways as it is only me whereas Air travel is bit different . Thanks for this wonderful thread ..
    love

  10. #10
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    It's certainly an attractive suggestion.

  11. #11
    Silver Member noeleena's Avatar
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    Hi ,
    Is it brave to interact with people . all forms of transport . not really if you have confidence in your self. & how your dressed is not a problem.

    I traveled on air lines internal & out side N Z . with my male name & female pic & never a problem. tho im legally a woman. one day ill change my name when i renew my passport when needed . till then its of little concern.

    ...noeleena...

  12. #12
    Silver Member AKAMichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeannL View Post
    Meg,
    My only fear is having a seat next to a young child. I recently had such a flight while traveling drab. The child wanted to interact with me through most of the flight which I did. I enjoyed it but if I was en femme I suspect that I don't want to get into why I was dressed as a girl should she have figured it out that I was a guy. From my early experiences of being out, really young children were really good at picking up on mannerisms, etc.

    Otherwise, I think I have spoken to more people sitting next to me than I have not. Interestingly though, the teen age and twenty something girls/women around me haven't been a problem.

    Here's to enjoying your next flight

    Leann
    I have to say that small children bother me the most. I avoid them in stores as well because as a parent I know how hard it is when a child starts asking questions to figure out what to say. Plus I don't want a child to get the wrong impression.
    Michelle

  13. #13
    Senior Member faltenrock's Avatar
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    the more I think about flying, the more I want to do it, I just don't know at what occasion and where. I agree with the child issue. When I was in a JC Penny last weekend in Detroit, I heard a mother with her little daughter walking bye, the mother saying "you think that's a dude?".
    Kids are really good at picking out a CD and they don't bother saying it.

  14. #14
    Chickie Chickhe's Avatar
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    I used to be scared of children before I was a parent because I just didn't know how to interact with them and that was dressed or not. Then it was while dressed because I was not self accepting and not confident. Once you decide to go out in the world, I think a major step is deciding you will be read and you must not let any situation phase you...you have to take what comes and just deal with it. For kids, all you can do is smile and answer their questions honestly...they don't really see anything wrong, they are just trying to put the puzzle of life together and once you tell them an answer they file it away and move on to the next question. To not worry the parents, though, it is best to limit the conversations and politely move away if you can. Or I guess if the kid was beside you, you could tell them you want to sleep now...or change the subject and just entertain them with some jokes or something.
    Chickie

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    Gold Member TxKimberly's Avatar
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    An honestly fascinating post and thread - thanks!
    I had also reached the conclusion that the airport/airline system is actually one of the safest places you could possibly CD and for all of the reasons you listed. A large law enforcement presence, the TSA, and everyone on their best behavior. You might even add that your average "thug" who might have caused a problem on the streets is probably not going to be the type to be flying.
    In my opinion, the only part of flying pretty that really requires courage, is being willing to accept the fact that there WILL be at least some you have to interact with that will KNOW you are a cross dresser. It seems like a long time ago to me now, but there was a time when the very thought of a stranger knowing that I was a cross dresser would have terrified me. If I felt that way, I'm sure that there are plenty of others here who still do. These days I couldn't care less what a complete stranger knows or thinks about my being TG, but it took me a while to get there.
    I LOVE traveling dressed. It has taken me from hating my job to loving it. It has taken what used to be an average of a 12 to 14 hour travel day of boredom and and made them fun instead.

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    Very encouraging and insightful words here

    Really enjoyed your response Kimberly. Between your encouraging words and some of the other responses on here, its really got me giving this whole flying business a second look. I'm sure as I get closer to actually pulling the trigger on something like that, I'll be here looking for more tips and hand-holding to get me through it.

  17. #17
    Tricia Dale tricia_uktv's Avatar
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    An opportune post. I am flying dressed for the first time on Thursday week. I have to admit I am more excited then scared about the prospect. I have travelled in trains, trams, buses and coaches before so am quite used to getting from 'A' to 'B' dressed. I haven't yet bthough been through passport control so that does pose a challenge. I'll let you know how I get on.
    I strut my stuff, I feel so proud,
    I need to shout, to scream out loud,
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    Leann, this was a really great post, and your analysis is spot on. For me, my biggest fear the first time was not being able to remove myself from the situation should the need arise. However, i got passed that and now really do enjoy flying pretty. I have yet to fly into Bradley though, as my company is HQ'd in Bloomfield and on any given flight in or out of Bradley at least one of my co-workers will be on it.

    Kimberly, i am not nearly as pretty as you :-). I assume everyone knows i am a dude!

  19. #19
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    As an afterthought, wouldn't it be fun to have a "fly in" someplace fun? Imagine a couple dozen or mrs cd/tg/ts all arriving in the same airport at the same time!

  20. #20
    Silver Member AKAMichelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeT View Post
    Kimberly, i am not nearly as pretty as you :-). I assume everyone knows i am a dude!
    Get real here. I have met TxKimberly in person and she doesn't attract any attention. You went to the orpheum theater for heaven's sake and passed. BTW, you looked great in that dress. Both of you are far and above most of us on here especially me. I just don't care if I am read. It isn't going to stop me from doing anything as Michelle. Just might be more hestitant.

    Quote Originally Posted by ReneeT View Post
    As an afterthought, wouldn't it be fun to have a "fly in" someplace fun? Imagine a couple dozen or mrs cd/tg/ts all arriving in the same airport at the same time!
    So where do you want to go? I'm game. But let's make sure it is someplace fun.
    Michelle

  21. #21
    Semi Sane innocent angel
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    I flew from San Jose to Vegas with no issue(just one TSA agent flirting with me). I was bit nervous, but now it would be no big deal. But I did have two things going for me. I have a state ID with me as Niya and when people see my male name they say Carry. Not even close to how its pronounced. I think I would of been more scared if my male name was some thing like Fred or Mike .
    Last edited by Niya W; 10-25-2010 at 04:55 PM.
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    Senior Member serinalynn's Avatar
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    I made 2 round trip using commercial airlines San Diego to Minneapolis to Sioux Falls and return one in 2008 and one in 2009. i dressed femme on both trips notreally trying to pass, I wore a plunge bra, Went through the airport scanners no problem, ( I discovered the "Underwire in my bras is plastic and not metal) (THat was a relief.) The rest of each one way trip was uneventful, though in Minneapolis, i caught on woman stareing at my chest, i walked over an said "Yes I'm wearing a bra!", an walked away with a big smile on my face.
    Last edited by serinalynn; 10-25-2010 at 05:12 PM.


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  23. #23
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    So where do you want to go? I'm game. But let's make sure it is someplace fun.

    How about Eureka Springs, AR?

  24. #24
    Silver Member AKAMichelle's Avatar
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    How about several days in Vegas? I have never been there and I can't imagine anything better than several days completely as Michelle. I wouldn't even pack a single male item outside of the razor.
    Michelle

  25. #25
    Silver Member renee k's Avatar
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    Hi Leann,

    As part of the group of people that get you from point A to point B safely, your post is spot on. My main concern is, and I'm sure Jenny J will concur. Your safety is our first concern. That goes for the Flight Attendants as well, your safety and getting you off the airplane in an emergency is their first priority, and not how your dressed. So please give them your co-operation, and pay attention to the cabin safety briefing, it could save your life one day.

    Renee
    Last edited by renee k; 10-25-2010 at 07:17 PM.
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