Ahhh, Spring Break.
It’s one of the few times a year a girl has a viable excuse to dress and act like a total Snooki.
Flirtatiously partying with the locals. Drinking from sunup to sundown. Twerking in the sand until your legs give out. I mean, sun’s out, buns out, right?
Whether you’re getting wrecked on the Jersey Shore, living your best life on South Beach or, my personal favorite, cozying up under a shore-side umbrella with a big bottle of Moscato and a (sickening!) cover-up to help mask your crippling dysphoria because the thought of anyone seeing your body in a bikini shakes you to the core, you’re sure to have a great time! Teehee.
If you’re trans, going to the beach can be a pretty daunting experience.
It’s kind of like that 6th grade nightmare you had of going to the pool, looking down to see your bathing suit has miraculously disappeared, and now everyone’s staring at you. Except now, everyone is staring at your gloriously, and visibly, trans body and looking for any reason to clock you.
It’s the hair-raising sensation that surges through your body when an unsuspecting catcaller questions your gender, contests your legitimacy, and threatens your safety. It’s the feeling that no matter how tight your tuck is, and no matter how there your boobs are, people will always take advantage of the vulnerability that comes with showing skin at the beach.
Whatever your Spring Break plans, here are a few tips to survive, and thrive, in any destination.
The most enervating feeling to experience while on vacation is having to navigate a sea of dysphoric thoughts, washing over you like a fresh batch of hot sewage water. Gross.
Be sure to pack the items you know will help you to feel your oats. Like that pair of jeans that always has you like, “Biiiitch. I think my butt’s getting big!” Yeah, you might want to wear them to and from the airport. To make sure they get to where they need to go, safely, of course.
Pack a bunch of Nexcare waterproof tape and socks as well, in case you have to get creative. Nothing’s worse for an already-nervous trans girl than a popped tuck in the middle of a party. Not cute.
Your biggest source of worry while traveling might be getting deadnamed, misgendered, or called out in front of large groups of people. It is a tumultuous ordeal that no trans person should have to go through, but in order to avoid these situations, it’s smart to stay one step ahead.
Get your ID and Passport information updated, if you’ve already had a legal name change.
Seriously girl, get to it.
It may seem like an impossible feat; the legal system is an incredible headache to unriddle as a trans individual. However, getting things updated and squared away will save you a lot of trouble when traveling, or doing any other day-to-day activities that would require that information.
Depending on where you’re headed, you might also want to carry your legal name change court documentation, medical letters for hormone injections and/or pills, and any old documents with your deadname on them.
You never know when a situation will arise in which authoritative figures may pry at your personal space and abuse their power in an attempt to further undermine an already-oppressed person or group of people, because they were trained by their families, jobs, and country to adopt a prejudice mindset against people that exist outside their small bubble of a social sphere! Teehee.
Just make sure all your bases are covered. I keep these things all together in a cute little vintage Chanel clutch so it’s easily identifiable to me.
Should any problem arise, they’ll know I mean business. Fashionably.
Spring Break is a time for laughter, lust (or love, I guess), and liquor! You don’t want any ignorant, wandering eyes or transphobic locals ruining the fun.
Inform yourself and the group that you should be traveling with of the safest places for trans individuals to have a good time. There are known LGBTQ-safe places to travel within and outside of the U.S., so do your research and take your pick.
Don’t let the horror stories deter you from traveling and seeing the world, because as trans people, we deserve that luxury too. Just stay in the know, find your best option, and please please please please please travel in a group.
Okay enough mom’ing. Seriously though, please!
Also, make sure the hotel, Air BnB, or cousin’s best friend’s dog’s dumpster you’re staying at is queer-friendly and near a local police department. You can never be too safe.
Hopefully, these tips will serve you as great pieces of advice for traveling while trans. Take your time, find the right people to go with, if the going gets tough, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself!
Trans travelers are just travelers, like everyone else.
Ivana Fischer is the Culture Editor of WUSSY and a film and media enthusiast who specializes in cultural studies. You can find her across all socials @iv.fischer