A couple of weeks ago, I went on a trip to Miami for my uncle’s 50th birthday. On the way home, I had to go through one of those full body scanners. That morning, I debated with myself about whether I wanted to wear a binder or be “comfortable” and wear a sports bra. (Note: after a while, neither one of them are really comfortable, but the comfort of the sports bra tends to last a little longer) I ended up binding since I wanted to wear just a T-shirt with no hoodie.

So, of course, I get stopped after going through the scanner because the area over my chest where I wear my binder had been highlighted. The male TSA officer pulled me aside and patted down my chest. Luckily, he either didn’t seem to notice the binder or didn’t care enough to say anything, and he sent me on my way.

I never really thought that a binder would set off any alarms. I wonder if the same thing would have happened if I had worn a sports bra. That would have definitely been more awkward to have a pat down in that compared to my binder.

Fortunately, I only have one more trip to worry about binding, and that will be on my way to top surgery in San Francisco in a few weeks. It does make me wonder how others deal with security who haven’t had surgery yet and get identified as male.



  1. I got stopped by the TSA leaving JFK enroute to Italy. The read me as blue and pushed the M button and then didn’t see what they expected. I got called back and patted down too. I didn’t realize their mix up but Donna heard the whole thing because they didn’t realize we were together. I’m used to disconnect between my documents and the 3 second over the counter assumption that anyone who looks like me ought to be male. I was also wearing a binder- kind of makes you curious about what they see when you go through the “x-Ray”. Hopefully they will ditch the machine.

  2. I’ve never had a problem, but I choose to travel in bras most of the time because I can’t stand the binder when I have to spend a long time traveling. I wish you luck when you travel to top-surgery!

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