Human Rights Campaign to TSA: Investigate transgender passenger treatment

Human Rights Campaign to TSA: Investigate transgender passenger treatment

The Human Rights Campaign is pushing the Transportation Security Administration to investigate its alleged mistreatment 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. 

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The HRC said in a letter to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger that the agency’s treatment of Petosky was “disturbing” and “unacceptable.”

“We urge TSA swift and thorough investigation of the incident, and take immediate action to ensure transgender travelers are treated equally and with full respect,” HRC President Chad Griffin wrote.

“Although Ms. Petosky clearly stated that she is a transgender woman, a TSA officer repeatedly questioned Ms. Petosky’s gender identity,” he continued. “Such questions are unacceptable.”

TSA officials have said that the agents who processed Petosky at the Orlando airport followed the agency’s rules.

“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."

Griffin strongly disagreed, saying “the TSA officer’s atrocious treatment of Ms. Petosky highlights the need for TSA to provide consistent officer training regarding transgender and gender nonconforming travelers.

“TSA should have comprehensive guidelines that are fully transparent to the public for TSA officers interacting with transgender individuals,” he continued. “In addition, the agency should require training to ensure that all officers are following agency guidelines.”