Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) requires their monthly transit passes to be marked with a sticker: “F” for female passengers or “M” for male passengers. In theory, these stickers prevent people from sharing their passes with their friends or family. In practice, they are discriminatory.
Transit drivers have to determine the gender of the passenger before allowing them to board. This has resulted in a lot of confusion as passengers are interrogated about their gender presentation in front of a busload of commuters. Failure to look like the gender marked on your card can bar you from riding. In the recession, this means that transgender and gender non-conforming people can be paying twice as much to ride public transportation.
No other major metropolitan areas in the US use gender markers on their monthly passes. SEPTA’s Citizen Advisory Committee unanimously voted to remove the stickers. Equality Advocates Pennsylvania, a statewide LGBT group, has filed a complaint with the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission to no avail. SEPTA’s management seems to be ignoring this important issue.
Tell the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority that gender-identity discrimination is hurtful. Public transportation is for everyone, regardless of your gender presentation.
Photo Credit: Buswizard
- General Manager, SEPTA
- Chairperson, Philadelphia Commission on Community Relations
Kay Kyungsun Yu
- Chairperson, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
Stephen A. Glassman
I am writing to you to express my concern over Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s policy that requires a gender identification sticker on monthly passes. These stickers discriminate against transgender and gender non-conforming passengers and need to be removed.
No other major city in the United States requires passengers to identify their gender on their monthly, non-commuter transit passes. SEPTA workers should not have to determine someone’s gender when a passenger boards a SEPTA vehicle. Philadelphia, where much of SEPTA’s business occurs, prohibits gender identity discrimination. SEPTA’s practice of labeling its passengers’ gender is unfair, potentially requiring passengers to identify their gender identity in public. This can be devastating to transgender and gender non-conforming people who are not out to their employers, friends or family.
SEPTA's Citizen Advisory Committee unanimously agreed that the stickers should be removed from transpasses and trailpasses. An official complaint has already been filed with the Philadelphia Human Relations Commission regarding this unfair policy.
Not only is this policy humiliating to transgender and gender non-conforming passengers, but it can be dangerous. No one wants to worry about discrimination on their way to work. Please remove this policy for the safety of all transit riders.
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