Monday, February 20, 2012

Not Trans Enough for the TSA

My adventures with the TSA continued today as I attempted to get through security at the Rochester International Airport on my way to my job interview at the lovely, trans-friendly Microsoft. I put my stuff on the conveyor and told the nearest officer that I would prefer to not go through the millimeter wave scanner because I wore a prosthetic that screwed up the scanner. She said "ok, we'll have to pat you down" and didn't offer to let me go through the metal detector instead. So another officer motioned for me to go through the millimeter wave scanner, and I did. Predictably, my dick set it off and they made me go through again. I looked at the scanner and it had squares all over my genitals and I told the lady who is detaining me at that point that I am transgender, I identify as male and I was wearing a prosthetic that screws up the scanner. She asked if I prefer a male or female to pat me down and I said male.

She called a supervisor and the lady who I first asked about going through the metal detector asked me my name. Assuming she meant my legal name, I told her my birth name, not my preferred name. She said "oh well you'll have to be patted down by a female". I said that although my name is not changed legally, I do go by a male name. Then the (male) supervisor came over and told me that because I "present" female, I needed to be patted down by a female. I told him that was certainly open to interpretation and that I felt that I presented male. They argued among themselves for  a bit before the supervisor left to call his supervisor. The one lady called over another lady and asked if I would be "offended" if I was patted down by a female. I told her that was fine, that I just wanted to get out of here. I mentioned again I was wearing a prosthetic that felt like a penis so it was really up to the officer if she was okay with that. They took me into the "private screening" room and patted me down. Everything was fine until they reached my packer. They felt it, squeezed it and started giggling to each other. "How am I supposed to even be qualified for something like this?" said the one lady. I was silent. I later explained to them how I had been through this before and that's why I had planned to go through the metal detector. They said next time to just use Adam and go through the metal detector.

Those who know me know I'm rarely affected by anything, but as I write this I am still shaking. It was traumatic. It was horrible. And I will be writing the ROC Airport to ensure it never happens to anyone again.

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