Orlando, Florida: home of Mickey Mouse, crispy tan old people, and TSA agents befuddled by transgender people?
It’s never fun having Transportation Security Administration goons rummage through your bag, hoping they don’t poach your toothpaste. But at the Orlando airport on Monday, Shadi Petosky experienced far worse, live tweeting the ordeal.
The co-founder of Minneapolis-based interactive media studio Puny Entertainment was going through security when the water bottle thieves flagged her for an “anomaly” around her crotch. Was it a stealthy weapon of mass destruction capable of making 9/11 look like child's play? Nah, just a penis.
I am being held by the TSA in Orlando because of an "anomaly" (my penis)
The “anomaly” was spotted after a TSA agent gave Petosky, a transgender woman, a body scan as a female. According to NBC News, after the writer and producer explained she is a woman, but has an atrophied penis under the hood, the agent told her she could be scanned as a man or would be searched, she claims. He then asked Petosky if she wanted a man or woman to conduct the body search.
“I kind of froze. I have never been flagged in the groin before and didn't want to make a female officer touch there, but didn't want a man to do the pat down,” she texted to NBC.
The TSA at the Orlando Airport told me I couldn't take photos but this is denigrating. I have missed my flight pic.twitter.com/PHwBLiJ0cB— Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015
Apparently it took two cops, an explosives specialist, and four TSA agents to determine Petosky's junk was not a threat to public safety. After being cleared, next came the also excruciating fiasco of rebooking an American Airlines flight to Minneapolis.
The TSA has left me in a room alone. There is an officer holding the door. pic.twitter.com/aFA0cQxAGx— Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015
I am through. It was about 40 minutes, 2 full body pat downs, fully disassembled luggage. I missed my flight. pic.twitter.com/wLTvP3md9W— Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015
As the retweets mounted, including several from comedian Tig Notaro, other transgender people came forward with their stories of #travelingwhiletrans.
I too have been taken away, detained, invasively patted down because scanner showed an "anomaly", despite my explanation. Unacceptable @TSA— Jen Richards (@SmartAssJen) September 21, 2015
In a statement, the TSA wrote that it "takes all potential civil rights violations very seriously. We are looking into the situation now for further information."