Published on March 22nd, 2012 | by Wild Gender3
An End In Sight For Philly’s SEPTA Gender Stickers?
PHILADELPHIA, PENN — Today, Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a resolution to end the practice of adding gender identification stickers on Philly’s consumer public transportation cards or “TransPasses.” The policy has been under fire for several years by the Philly trans community. In 2009, a group of trans and gender non-conforming Philadelphia residents started Riders Against Gender Exclusion (RAGE) in an effort to mobilize against the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) use of M/F stickers and the affect it has on gender variant riders.
“As we understand it, is about 30 years old,” writes RAGE of the policy on their website. “We don’t know the full history of how this has impacted trans, genderqueer, or androgynous riders but we do know that one of the first people to take a public stand on the issue was Charlene Arcila, a local trans woman and community advocate. In 2007, after trying to board a bus and being told she couldn’t use the transpass she had purchased because of her gender, Charlene worked with Equality Advocates to file a formal complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. The Human Relations Commission is currently conducting an investigation on the treatment Charlene received during this incident.”
Councilwoman Brown’s resolution comes on the heels of her work with the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club on the issue on the basis that M/F stickers discriminate against transgender people.
The resolution will be eligible for public debate on March 29th at a public meeting, held at 10 a.m. in the City Council Chamber. Members of Philadelphia’s transgender community are encouraged to attend and share their stories.
On behalf of RAGE, Philly-based independent filmmaker Wren Warner, chose to highlight the stories of trans/gender non-conforming SEPTA riders in their movie, Gender Sticker Film Project (watch the trailer below).
“The policy is putting SEPTA employees in an odd position—they have to do their job and [be the] gender police,” Warner said in an interview with Philadelphia Weekly. “The goal of this film is to try to remove the gender stickers,” says Warner, “but the underlying goal is to spread awareness and educate people about trans and gender variant issues.”