was the 1st tweet from transgender woman Shadi Petosky, a writer and
producer, who says that she was detained by TSA agents at MCO after an officer
flagged her for having an anatomical “anomaly” when she passed through the
passenger live-tweeted her ordeal, which ended with her being detained, missing
her flight to MSP and urging the TSA to change its screening processes for
toldNBC Newsthat her difficulties began as soon as she stepped into the
airport’s full body scanner. “The TSA agent looked at me and pressed the
[Female] button. The scanner picked up an ‘anomaly’ in my crotch area. I
said, ‘I’m transgender. That’s my penis. The TSA officer then said something
like, ‘If you are a man, then go back in the machine and we’ll run you as a
said that she was again questioned about her gender and repeatedly asked if she
was a man or a woman. She was told that she would have to be physically
searched by an agent and was asked whether she would prefer a male or female
TSA agent to conduct the patdown.
kind of froze. I have never been flagged in the groin before and didn’t want to
make a female officer touch there, but didn’t want a man to do the pat down,”
Petosky told NBC.
After spending 40 min. in security for 2 patdowns and a full
luggage search, Petosky said she missed her AA flight to MSP and could not be
rebooked on another flight until the next day.
The TSA addresses the concerns of transgender travellers in
the FAQ section of its website.
Passengers are instructed to “use the name and gender that
appears on their government-issued ID” – not their presentation gender – when
passing through the security checkpoint. It also says that transgender fliers
may ask to be screened in private, “with a witness or companion” present, and
may ask to speak to a supervisor at any time.
Despite her struggle, Petosky managed to keep a sense of
humour in her Twitter posts: “I
didn't know how to spell anomaly until today,” she tweeted. “Have an unexpected
day in Miami but I'll make that fun. @TSA trans bodies are not anomalies.”