The embarrassing treatment of transgender woman, Shadi Petosky, at the Orlando Airport this week is deplorable. The T.S.A. system is flawed to allow a person to be demeaned and treated like a terrorist when she was just being who she was. The T.S.A. officers clearly dealt with this situation wrongly, even if they said they handled it correctly.
Ms. Petosky entered the body scanner as a woman and when the device detected what they said was an “anomaly” (which is a “new term” to me for private parts in the groin area), they stopped her and put her through an abusive process for 40 minutes, so long, she missed her flight.
It appeared that the T.S.A. staff did not know what to do even though Ms. Petosky had explained previously to them that she was a transgender woman. Unless, she was hiding a knife or firearms in her private parts, her passing through security should have never been an issue.
The T.S.A. employees are there to protect the safety of the passengers, not harass a transgender woman. After the initial screening, when they found her “anomaly”, they insisted that she be re-screened as a man. The other officer said she couldn’t be re-screened, so she ended up in a private screening room where she was patted down twice and not allowed to use her phone.
A spokesman for the agency, in an email, said the T.S.A. officers handled the situation according to policy. Yet, Ms. Petosky has stated that she followed the T.S.A. guidelines which say people should travel under the name and gender that appears on their ID. She did and still she was harassed.
In July, the NationalCenter for Transgender Equality joined a joint lawsuit against the T.S.A., claiming that the agency unlawfully instituted and expanded its use of the full-body scanning machines without allowing for public review and comment. The devices are designed to screen people who identify as the sex they were born with. Agents choose male or female based on what passengers look like, a process Ms. Petosky says is flawed.
This prejudice against the transgender community at the airports needs to cease. There should be new laws that clearly state updated procedures for the transgender community, whether they have an “anomaly” or not. Really, T.S.A. how can you support these officers?
What are your thoughts?