Shadi Petosky says she was treated shabbily by TSA agents who didn't seem to be trained in how to deal with a transgender woman. She tells NBC News that she went through a full-body scanner at Orlando International Airport on Monday and was stopped after agents detected what they called an "anamoly" in her groin area. "I said, 'I'm transgender. That's my penis,'" she tells NBC. "The TSA officer then said something like, 'If you are a man, then go back in the machine and we'll run you as a man.'" She says she was put in a holding room for 40 minutes and missed her flight as officers patted her down twice and debated among themselves about what the correct procedure was.
The head of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund tells the Los Angeles Times that the group has dealt with many recent complaints about transgender people being mistreated by the TSA. "For transgender people, flying is fraught with difficulty, often discrimination, and very often a lot of fear," he says. Petosky, who didn't make it home to Minneapolis until the next day, says she hopes sharing her story will help other transgender people. A TSA spokesman, however, says the agents who dealt with Petosky were not at fault. Video and other evidence "shows our officers followed TSA's strict guidelines," he tells the New York Times. (Two TSA agents were fired after their scheme to grope passengers was exposed.)