Since the summer of 2009, members of Riders Against Gender Exclusion (RAGE) have been organizing against SEPTA’s use of gender marking stickers on their weekly and monthly TransPasses that were designed to prevent heterosexual spouses from sharing passes. The stickers, they argue, make commuting difficult and dangerous for riders whose gender identifications don’t match the stickers on their passes, and have produced countless incidents of gender-presentation based harassment and unjust confiscation of passes.
On Thursday April 12, SEPTA General Manager Joe Casey announced that SEPTA plans to remove the gender stickers from all monthly transit passes by 2013. “A fare policy proposal will be submitted to SEPTA’s board of directors that includes this change beginning in the second half of 2013,” reported Max Ray, founding member of RAGE and West Philadelphia resident. “We thank SEPTA for doing the right thing,” continued Ray. “New fare system delays may be unavoidable, but SEPTA realized that human rights can’t wait. I’m proud of the tremendous amount of work that the transgender community has put into this project and all we’ve accomplished during this campaign.” West Philadelphians have been heavily involved in the organizing work that produced this groundbreaking victory - Robin Markle, Wren Warner, Victoria White, Ray Murphy, and Nico Armador to name just a few.
“On a personal level, the victory is meaningful to me because I think there are so few examples of trans people who are doing grassroots organizing and direct action on trans issues,” said founding member Nico Amador. ”I think that the success of this campaign isn’t just about getting the gender stickers removed, but also about sending a message that trans people don’t have to wait for the legal system or social workers to change things for us, we can do it ourselves.”
- Emma Eisenberg