Transgender woman live tweets airport scan 'anomaly' in groin experience

A transgender woman claimed that TSA agents harassed her and held her for 40 minutes at Orlando International Airport last week after a full-body scan discovered an “anomaly” in her groin area.

Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport Image by Margalit Francus / CC BY-SA 2.0

Shadi Petosky, who explained to the agents that she was transgender, live tweeted throughout the incident.

“I fly all the time and this has never happened. I really thought the TSA was good about trans issues. I am so dumb,” she tweeted 26 minutes into her ordeal. After two full-body pat downs and having her luggage “fully disassembled,” Petosky said she was let go. By that point, however, she’d missed her American Airlines flight back to Minneapolis.

After a period where it appears American Airlines PR reps were responding to media inquires faster than American Airlines desk agents were responding to Petosky’s travel needs, she was eventually rebooked on a flight to Miami. After an overnight stay there, she flew back to Minneapolis.

TSA airport security checkpoint.

TSA airport security checkpoint. Image by Ben Popken / CC BY 2.0

TSA spokesperson, Mike England, later defended the agency’s actions to “The New York Times” via email: “After examining closed-circuit TV video and other available information, TSA has determined that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines. Supervisory personnel and a passenger support specialist participated in the screening to ensure guidelines were met.”

According to TSA’s website, “Transgender persons will be screened as he or she presents themselves at the security checkpoint. The advanced imaging technology used to screen passengers has software that looks at the anatomy of men and women differently. If there is an alarm, TSA officers are trained to clear the alarm, not the individual. This process ensures every individual is screened effectively according to procedures prior to entering the secured area of an airport. You may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process. TSA employees are given various cultural awareness and sensitivity trainings. TSA regularly meets with organizations representing the transgender community about the screening process.”

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