Sunday, June 24, 2018

I am tired of metal detectors

I am up late writing this at 1:20 am on a saturday night, or sunday morning if you will. The reason I am up is my PD insomnia as usual, but I am also sitting here just sort of processing an event that happened yesterday at SF Pride.

If you dont follow me usually, heres the tea. I have a neurostimulator. I have had Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery, and so I have a battery in my chest. Heres a cute picture of my scar tattoo I got recently:

Under that scar is a big battery that is basically responsible for my ability to move. If you havent seen the video, here is what happens when we turn it off:

Yeah. We dont turn it off. 

Now to what happened at Pride. And this really makes my blood boil because after 3 years I am sick and tired of not being respected at security checkpoints.

I tell them I have a pacemaker because that is just easier. No one knows what a neurostimulator is. They had no protocol in place for people who cant go through detectors at Pride, when I said I had a pacer they all looked at each other for a moment trying to figure out what to do. So they sent me around this whole mess and the guy says I can get wanded. He was really forceful, so usually when I would say no to even that because I don't want to take the chance, I said it had to be waist down (which is standard as the wand is a stronger and more localized EM field). He flat out said no. I said I can't, and he said this is pacemaker safe. And so is the metal detector walk through (not true, fyi). I tried to explain it wasnt a pacer but a neurostimulator, and that if the machine turned it off I would end up in the hospital. He shook his head no.

He literally said "then you cant go into the event."

What the actual fuck??

Let me break this down. This was Pride. An event that was supposed to be for the entire LGBTQIA+ community. The disabled members of the community too. What is the point of security? To make the event safe for the community. Last I checked, bullying the community wasn't a good way to achieve that goal. 

I know working security isnt easy, but I reject the idea that in trying to keep us safe, they can prey upon the disabled, a group less likely to be able to stand up for themselves.

Here I am, a capable, fierce and formidable woman who speaks her mind all the time, and I am exhausted. Completely exhausted. I should not have to defend my medical needs to enter a freaking event. It should just be respected. It just should be. I don't even know how to describe how gross it feels to have someone tell you that your medical fear is unfounded and that to even get in to something that you have every right to be at you have to literally risk your health.

And what about disabled community members who didnt have the voice to stand up for themselves like I did? It took all my energy to do this. I cannot imagine what happened to those who could not, and that makes me furious.

How did I finally enter SF Pride? The woman with the wand whispered in my ear "dont worry i wont turn it on until i get to your waist." I would have literally been denied entry if not for her. To this woman, thank you for being my angel today. Thank you for seeing the fear and frustration I had when this giant guy was yelling at me for something I could not control. Thank you for seeing a little way to ease the situation and making it okay for me to get through and enjoy Pride without killing my DBS battery. Thank you.
This woman fake wanded me while another officer searched my bag which my feeding tube was in, and seeing the feeding tube pump and bags she looked at the woman with the detector wand and said 'is this allowed?'
My security angel said "zip that back up, its her medicine, its literally connected to her, let her through already."

So thanks to this hero I got through and got to enjoy the day. Metal detectors are getting really exhausting.

When you see injustice, be it racial injustice, gender discrimination, violence against our transgender friends, prejudice against the disabled, be a hero. Stand up for what is right in whatever way you can. Be it confronting someone if it is safe or helping the victim get through like that woman did for me. In this day and age we need to help each other. Be weary of what you say. These microagressions really add up, and everyone who experiences them is freaking exhausted.


  1. So frustrating you had to endure that. File that complaint. I hope you were at least able to enjoy some of Pride after that. You continue to move & inspire me each day.

  2. Good grief! Brutal that you had go through this but thankful for your angel and hoping that your message of standing up for being gets through. Also, lets hipe that this message is driven home for people just being twits... What happenned to people " doing now harm" in their jobs, medical field or not.


I am tired of metal detectors

I am up late writing this at 1:20 am on a saturday night, or sunday morning if you will. The reason I am up is my PD insomnia as usual, but ...