Transportation Security Administration agents at the Orlando International Airport detained a transgender woman when a suspicious “anomaly” appeared in her image after she entered an X-ray security scanner.
The transgender woman says TSA agents called her a man and held her for a lengthy security inspection because of her genitals at the Orlando airport on Monday.
Shadi Petosky, a television writer and executive producer for Puny Entertainment, was on her way back to Minneapolis from a vacation in Orlando, Fla. in celebration of her own birthday and her mother’s retirement when she was stopped at the airport and detained by Transportation Security Administration agents. During the security inspection, she managed to describe through her Twitter account how TSA agents were treating her. As Shadi Petosky was live-tweeting about her ordeal at the airport, she was documenting her own humiliation: put in a small room, patted down and forced to miss her flight.
According to Petosky’s thread on Twitter, she has flown many times in the past, however she has never experienced such treatment, and “really thought the TSA was good about trans issues.”
According to her tweets, after Petosky was stopped, she was left alone in a private room with an officer holding the door shut. Later, she was told she had to return to the body scanner and a TSA agent named “Bramlet” asked her to get scanned “as a man” or “it was going to be a problem” and then they took her phone “for screening.” Petosky claimed that there were as many as seven different officials investigating her at one time. The inspection included patting down around her groin with the back of an agent’s hand and that lasted about 40 minutes.
Eventually, because of her detention by the TSA agents, Petosky missed her flight home to Los Angeles.
The only statement the Transportation Security Administration has released about the incident came from spokesman Mike England and he said that the agents followed proper protocol during the inspection.
According to a National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 11 % of transgender people said they had been “denied equal treatment” by airport staff and 17 % had been harassed or disrespected at the airport or on a plane.
The TSA does not have any official policy about how trans people should be treated, aside from basic guidance that they should use the name and gender that appears on their government-issued ID. “Gender identity” is not considered a form of discrimination prohibited against passengers.