Trans Woman Detained By TSA Over Body ‘Anomaly’

Open Jaw

That 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 screening area.

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 transgender individuals.

Petosky told NBC News that 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 man.'”

Petosky 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.


“I 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.”


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