Traveling While Trans
On Monday night, on her way to board a flight at Orlando’s International Airport, Shadi Petosky, a 35-year-old transgender woman was detained by the Transportation Security Administration due to an anomaly.
The anomaly was her own body.
Although TSA has guidelines to properly conduct themselves with transgender travelers, these guidelines are still missing a big piece of information. The website states:
“Transgender persons should use the name and gender that appears on their government-issued ID when making flight reservations and at the security checkpoint. You may ask that carry-on bags be screened in private….screening can be done in private with a witness or companion. You may request private screening or to speak with a supervisor at any time during the process.”
However, a National Transgender Discrimination Survey states that approximately 17% of transgender individuals are harassed at the airport or on the plane, and 11% report being denied equal treatment.
After examining video and other information about the incident, TSA spokesman Mike England provided a statement to the Advocate, saying that “TSA has determined that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines.”
Petosky, on the other hand, was not content. “I am through. It was about 40 minutes, 2 full body pat downs, fully disassembled luggage. I missed my flight.”
Her issues continued with the manager of American Airlines as he told her that in future times, she should ask for a private screening, and gave her a lesson “on how to travel while trans.”
After attempting to live-tweet the entire ordeal, TSA asked her for her phone but she kept it, to log everything publically. She was then asked to leave, but instead she attempted to fly out through a later flight.
“Traveling while trans” seems to still be prevalent issue for transgender individuals, who face their own airport battles, as Petosky’s case proved today.