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Air travel and borders, Hotels and accommodation & Public toilets

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Air travel and borders

Identity documents can be awkward for transgender voyagers, as some national customs or immigration checkpoints blindly assume the traveller's birth sex, gender presentation and stated gender on passports or travel documents will all conveniently match. Voyagers planning sex reassignment surgery abroad must ensure they're carrying valid documents for the return trip. The willingness of governments to issue passports with gender not stated (X) or documents updated to match a desired name and gender varies. Willingness of foreign governments to honour these documents is just as widely variable.

Searches at security checkpoints have also become far more intrusive in the post-September 11, 2001 era. Pre-operative transgender people should not expect to pass through the scanners with their privacy and dignity intact.

There is also the possibility that specific literature, pornography, adult novelty toys or other items will be blocked by customs when entering countries whose governments discriminate against LGBT persons.

Hotels and accommodation

Laws prohibiting private businesses from discriminating against gay (and, less often, transgender) patrons exist in a few of the jurisdictions where same-sex activity is lawful. Couples have successfully sued innkeepers who refused to let one bed/double occupancy rooms in the United Kingdom. Similar protections exist in much of western Europe and some liberal states in the USA.

Conversely, a few destinations may have hotels which market specifically to the gay community or bed and breakfast hosts who are same-sex couples themselves.

Public toilets

The legality of using public toilets of one's gender choice differs greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For instance, in more liberal states of the United States such as California and New York, transgender persons are free to use public toilets of their choice by simply declaring their gender identity, and some places even have gender-neutral toilets for gender non-conforming people. In some other areas like Singapore and Thailand, transgender people may only use public toilets of their choice after undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Some areas, including most Middle Eastern Muslim countries, do not permit transgender people to change their legal gender at all, and thus in theory require all individuals to use public toilets of their legal birth sex – though a transgender woman in skirt with a male birth certificate may not be well received in the male toilet.


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