Neutrois Nonsense: SEPTA’s Gender Discrimination

Example SEPTA Transpasses displaying dayglow green M stickers or dayglow pink F stickersBlog Neutrois Nonsense covers why SEPTA’s insistence on including prominent binary gender identifiers on monthly travel passes is discriminatory towards trans*, genderqueer, gender variant and non-binary identified people and likely to cause inconvenience or exclusion.

For those of you who don’t know, SEPTA is the SouthEastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority – ie, the one and only public transit system used in the metro-Philadelphia area. SEPTA has had a policy in place where they place tiny little stickers on your monthly pass – these stickers are either an M or an F, demarcating your gender. SEPTA authorities and other officials are supposed to enforce this compliance – that is, that your sticker does indeed match your gender, although obviously this means it must match your perceived gender. For transgender people, or even other gender variant people, this is evidently quite problematic.

Allegedly this practice is in place to decrease your chances of pass sharing. If you’re good at math, you will quickly calculate that this only decreases your chances of sharing your monthly pass with half of the people you could share it with.

Neutrois Nonsense: SEPTA’s Gender Discrimination

Change.org’s coverage of the story

Riders Against Gender Exclusion Facebook protest group

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7 thoughts on “Neutrois Nonsense: SEPTA’s Gender Discrimination”

    1. I’ve added the next two sentences of the article to the quote for those too busy to click through. It’s an impressively weak reason to severely inconvenience and likely publicly out their gender variant passengers!

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      1. Wow, I mean pretty much every other organisation in THE WORLD that tries to stop fraud like this, does so with a fucking picture of the person the pass is allocated to, not a fucking perceived sex.

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      2. Well I know of Lloyds TSB customers who’ve been refused bank cards without a gender title because apparently this prevents card/identity fraud (presumably if it causes you to be accused of theft or publicly outed as trans, that’s worth the risk in their eyes).

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      3. Hmmm… my Barclaycard has just my initials and surname, my cash card has an identifier. For fraud purposes, photographs are much better!

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  1. It’s so weird seeing myself quoted! Thanks for reposting Nat.

    I guess in the UK you deal with the same sorts of issues, so it’s good to be aware of what’s happening on both sides of the world. I was reading your post about the UK census and remembered we faced the same situation in the US, or worse. Oh, we could even do a discrimination round-off, UK vs US!

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    1. Thanks for posting it! I’m very keen to cover related struggles and campaigns regardless of their location. In many ways these are universal struggles, so highlighting them creates a repository of stories of gender variant and non-binary people being hurt by enforced binary gender and their campaigns against this. This both shows organisations that these sorts of policies ARE a problem and shows other non-binary people that they’re not alone. It also allows us to pool our resources; if one of us has been told that something IS possible if you make enough fuss, that’s a precedent that others can use when asking for similar treatment.

      And yes, the UK has similar issues. Check out the comments on the previous post about gender titles on bank debit and credit cards. We can be outed or refused service when making payment in any shop if we don’t pass as the title our bank has arbitrarily assigned us. Some banks will allow no title or alternative titles if you make a fuss, others claim it’s impossible and refuse to change their systems to allow it. The common argument is that including a title makes card/identity theft harder for criminals, as with SEPTA’s reasons, it’s a pretty poor excuse when it means we’re unable to use our own cards without being outed or accused of theft.

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