A transgender woman says she was delayed at a TSA checkpoint at the Orlando International Airport in Florida because a body scanner picked up that her anatomy didn’t match her gender identity.
Shadi Petosky live-tweeted her ordeal on Sept. 21 and later spoke with NBC News about what happened to her.
“I am being held by the TSA in Orlando because of an ‘anomaly’ (my penis),” Petosky posted to Twitter.
“I stepped into the full body scanner, the TSA agent looked at me and pressed the F button,” Petosky told NBC in a text message interview. “The scanner picked up an 'anomaly' in my crotch area.”
Petosky, a writer and producer, added that she told the TSA agent, "I'm transgender. That's my penis."
"If you are a man, then go back in the machine and we'll run you as man," the TSA officer responded, according to Petosky.
She said she again explained to the agent that she was a transgender woman and had an “atrophied penis” to which the agent allegedly responded: “If you don't want to be run as a man, we'll have to search you. Are you a man or a woman?”
Petosky told NBC she “kind of froze” when asked if she wanted a male of female agent to search her.
“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,” she said.
NBC said it was not able to independently confirm Petosky’s version of events.
TSA spokesman Mike England spoke to the Daily Mail about Petosky’s incident and said TSA “officers are trained to properly screen members of the transgender community.”
“TSA takes all potential civil rights violations very seriously and conducted a review of the incident,” England said. “After examining closed circuit TV video and other available information, TSA has determined that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines.”
TSA guidelines for transgender passengers read, “Transgender persons should use the name and gender that appears on their government-issued ID when making flight reservations and at the security checkpoint,” according to the Daily Mail.
“You may ask that carry-on bags be screened in private if a bag must be opened by a TSA officer to resolve an alarm,” the guidelines continue. “Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion. You may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process.”
Petosky said via Twitter that, in all, she was delayed about 40 minutes and underwent two “full body pat downs.” She missed her flight but was rebooked on another flight leaving Miami the next day.
Photo credit: Twitter: @shadipetosky, WikiCommons