Advocates say new TSA rule perpetuates harassment for transgender flyers

Following an order by an appeals court to review its full body scanners, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has finalized a new rule that maintains the widespread use of body-scanning technology, according to The Advocate. This rule requires TSA agents to identify passengers by their perceived gender, putting transgender and gender non-conforming travelers at a higher risk for intrusive examinations such as pat-downs and inspection of their chests and genital areas.

Many transgender travelers have come forward to speak about the humiliating experiences that they had due to these practices, and numerous LGBT rights groups had met with the TSA to change its policies. Last December, the TSA announced that they would no longer use the word "anomaly" and would instead use the word "alarm" when referring to travelers whose appearance and anatomy to do not align with the body scanners' narrow gender criteria. This has been met by critique from many activists. Victoria Rodriguez- Roldan, the Task Force's trans/gender nonconforming justice project director, is quoted saying, "Current policies create a situation where transgender people are dehumanized and placed in harm’s way by constantly outing them and forcing them to disclose their personal lives with TSA agents in front of everyone in order to travel by airplane.”

A TSA spokesperson responded to The Advocate with the following statement: "TSA officers are trained to properly screen members of the transgender community. TSA recognizes the concerns that some members of the transgender community may have with certain security screening procedures at the nation’s security checkpoints. TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy and is continuing to enhance training efforts in response to concerns raised by the transgender community.”