TSA under fire for treatment of transgender passenger

TSA under fire for treatment of transgender passenger

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is under fire for its treatment of a transgender passenger at Orlando International Airport. 

The passenger, Shadi Petosky, live-tweeted as she was held for 40 minutes at an airport security checkpoint in Florida on Monday because of an "anomaly" that was cited when she passed through one of the TSA's full-body X-ray machines. 

"I am being held by the TSA in Orlando because of an "anomaly" (my penis)," she tweeted. 

"The TSA at the Orlando Airport told me I couldn't take photos but this is denigrating," Petosky continued. "I have missed my flight." 

TSA officials have said that the agency "takes all potential civil rights violations very seriously."

"We are looking into the situation now for further information," the agency tweeted after Petosky's complaints went viral. 

“Our officers are trained to properly screen members of the transgender community," the agency wrote in a Wednesday statement. "After examining closed circuit TV video and other available information, TSA has determined that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines."

Transgender advocacy groups rushed to Petosky's defense after news of her treatment by TSA agents in Orlando spread quickly. 

"As @shadipetosky's experience reminds us: #TravelingWhileTrans is real. That's why we filed a suit against the @TSA," the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Transgender Equality tweeted. 

Petosky went back to Twitter in the days following the incident to clarify the sequence of events that lead to her missing her initial flight. 

"Anyone reporting that I 'refused to use the male setting' is wrong. I ASKED to be rescanned using whatever settings was told no," she wrote.

"They don't rescan, they pat down," she continued. "The officer who talked 'male scan' ! was sent away quickly. He didn't know procedures.

"The female office said 'come on come on' annoyingly then I walked to the closed gate," Petosky concluded.