A transgender woman says she was assaulted and humiliated by a TSA agent at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
On Saturday, the woman posted a series of tweets describing the incident as well as a photo of herself crying in an airport bathroom. The alleged victim has since deleted the tweets and has made her Twitter account private.
“Hi, so a TSA agent at JFK punched me in the genitalia, yelled at me for having a penis (?) and humiliated me in front of everyone after i told her to please stop,” she wrote [LGBTQ Nation is not publishing her name to protect her privacy].
“She followed me into the women’s bathroom and began talking about me to a coworker while I sobbed in a stall,” she continued. “Anyone know what I can do?”
She later tweeted that she had been crying for an hour and that she was still experiencing physical pain as a result of the assault.
“I don’t want the tsa agent that hurt me fired,” she wrote. “I want her educated and the entirety of the tsa abolished altogether.”
JFK’s official Twitter account later responded to the woman’s posts, requesting that she specify the terminal in which the incident occurred and asking for “any other details about this TSA agent that you are referring to,” according to Radar Online.
“We apologize again for your experience,” the airport’s account tweeted. “Your comments have been noted and shared.”
This isn’t the first time a trans person has accused the TSA of transphobia. In January, trans photographer Vincent-Natasha Gay reported severe mistreatment at the Orlando International Airport after a TSA agent performed a pat-down and loudly identified them as trans to fellow agents.
“The problem is that the TSA continually does not train their employees on how to respectfully pat down and talk to trans people,” Gay said.
In 2021, an Arizona trans woman posted a series of videos on TikTok detailing the humiliating experience of going through airport security.
“Can we talk about how horrible it is to travel while being transgender sometimes? I always have immense anxiety leading up to going through security,” Rosalynne Montoya said. “I totally recognize the privilege of having all of my documents correct. So, the gender marker on my license, for example, says female. But, going through the scanner, there’s a male scanner and a female scanner in the TSA checkpoint.”
“Going through the scanner, I always have an ‘anomaly’ between my legs that sets off the alarm,” she continued.
She described an incident in which she was forced to identify herself as trans to TSA agents after setting off a scanner’s alarm. An agent then asked her if she wanted to be patted down by a male officer.
“There is transphobia rooted into every system of power in this nation, so the root solution is to simply believe transgender people when they tell you who they are,” Montoya said in a subsequent post. “TSA needs to remove the gender settings from their scanners, and they should also believe me when I tell them that I’m a trans woman and that I don’t want to be pat down by a man or scanned as a man because I’m not one.”
In a statement to LGBTQ Nation following the January incident in Orlando, TSA said that it “recognizes the concerns of transgender/non-binary/gender nonconforming passengers with the security screening process, and the agency continues to implement the new algorithm on the Advanced Imaging Technology units to significantly reduce false alarms and improve efficiency for all passengers.”