Trans teen required to undergo genital examination at airport & people are speaking out

Airport security scanner
Airport security scanner Photo: Shutterstock

Trans people are speaking out on social media after a mother sued TSA for forcing her trans daughter to undergo a genital examination before she was allowed to board a plane.

Kimberly Erway filed suit against the TSA alleging that her then-15-year-old daughter Jamii’s rights – including her Fourth Amendment rights – were violated when TSA told her to go to a private room and submit to a genital examination after the scanning machine at the airport in Raleigh, North Carolina was set off because her body didn’t conform to what the machine expected of a girl’s body.

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Her daughter said she felt “panic, anxiety, fear, racing heart, shortness of breath” because of the request and her amazing mom rented a car and drove them up to their final destination in New York instead of forcing her to undergo the genital examination.

While TSA is not commenting on the case, the lawsuit alleges that what happened was that a security agent pressed a button that said Jamii was “female” before she entered the scanning device, which TSA’s website says is pressed “based on how you present yourself.” The machine then flagged her genitalia and even after she explained that she’s transgender, TSA wanted to examine her genitalia.

The gendered system has been humiliating trans people for years, and there was an outpouring of support on social media for the lawsuit as trans people told their stories and explained why TSA needs a better system that isn’t based just on someone’s judgment of a stranger’s gender.

Actor Jen Richards called out TSA’s “sophisticated system of someone pressing a pink or blue button.”

Author Casey Plett called out the “TSA-grope” and encouraged the family.

Advocate Ari Dennon noted that TSA could have run the scanner again for Jamii Erway but chose not to.

Others spoke out as well.

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