Records show transgender travelers singled out in TSA screenings

Despite the announcement made last year by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to remove all body scanners that showed nearly nude images in order to protect passenger privacy, documents from the Department of Homeland Security reveal details of incidents in which transgender travelers were subjected to heightened scrutiny when passing through airport security checkpoints. 

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests netted civil rights complaints, incident reports and internal memos and emails from the DHS's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Transportation Security Administration. They show that trans people have been required to undergo pat-down searches by officers of the opposite gender, reveal or remove items such as chest binders and prosthetic penises and defend challenges to their gender identities and their right to opt out of body scans, among other problems.

TSA press secretary, Ross Feinstein, said that the agency has no formal policy specific to transgender passengers and that there are no anticipated changes to TSA’s policies and procedures at this time.

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