Trans woman accuses TSA of targeting her at airport security

Model and activist Rosalynne Montoya also posted how TSA can treat trans people better

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Sunday 28 March 2021 13:42
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Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers inspect airline passengers before they board their flights
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers inspect airline passengers before they board their flights
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Transgender model and activist Rosalynne Montoya posted a TikTok sharing her experience of how horrible it is to travel as a trans person when going through airport security.

Ms Montoya says that she gets immense anxiety even though all of her documentation lists her gender as female – which she recognises is a privilege not yet available to every trans person.

At security, she says that as a woman and looking like a woman she loves having cis-assuming privilege in places in which she feels unsafe, such as an airport.

However, going through the scanner which has male and female settings, she always has “an anomaly” which triggers an alarm when scanned as a female.

In the instance she relates in the TikTok video – titled “TSA is transphobic” – Ms Montoya says the female TSA agent asked her if she had anything in her pants, to which she replied no.

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The agent then suggested it was the metal buttons on her shorts and scanned her again, once again the alarm was set off.

Ms Montoya then told the agent that she is trans and asked to be patted down instead.

The agent’s solution was to ask if she wanted to be scanned as a man instead.

“I didn’t, but I ended up doing it, and then my boobs set off the scanner – because of course,” said Ms Montoya. “So, I tried to make a joke out of it and said don’t worry there’s just a bunch of plastic in there.”

The agent then said that they would have to pat her down and asked if she wanted a man to do it, to which Ms Montoya replied: “No, absolutely not.”

@rosalynnemontoya

We need to change how the scanners function and educate TSA about trans people. #tsa #trans #transgender #transphobia #transphobic #travel

♬ original sound - Rose Montoya

Ms Montoya captioned the TikTok post: “We need to change how the scanners function and educate TSA about trans people.”

The example given in the post in a common occurrence for trans people as scanners are not programmed to recognise them.

In a follow-up video, Ms Montoya said the true problem with transphobia at airport security is a systemic one as it is rooted into every system of power in the nation.

“The root solution is to believe transgender people when they tell you who they are,” she says.

“We should stop enforcing gender roles and trying to fit people into these boxes that no one truly fits into.”

She also said that the TSA needs to remove the gender settings from its scanners and that she does not want to be patted down by a man or scanned as one.

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