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How Do TSA Officers Screen Transgender Passengers? We Want to Talk to You.

We want to hear about issues transgender and nonbinary people have had during interactions with the TSA.

Transportation Security Administration officers at a checkpoint at O'Hare airport in Chicago. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

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Update, July 1, 2019: We’ve heard from over 150 people who have had a troubling experience at a TSA airport checkpoint related to their gender identity. In our next phase of reporting, we also want to talk to current and former TSA officers. We’d like to know more about your training and how you’re instructed to handle enhanced screenings of transgender and nonbinary passengers. Thank you to everyone who has shared their experience with us so far.

If you’re a current or former TSA officer, please get in touch with us using the form below or email Lucas Waldron at [email protected].

We want to know more about issues transgender or nonbinary people have had during Transportation Security Administration screenings at airports.

We’ve heard from transgender and nonbinary travelers that the TSA screening process sometimes results in them being questioned or experiencing invasive screenings simply because their bodies looked different than an officer expected.

We know the body scanners the TSA uses require officers to choose whether a passenger is male or female. The officers push a button corresponding with their determination about the passenger’s gender. There’s no button for someone who is nonbinary or gender nonconforming. Then, the scanner is supposed to determine whether the passenger’s body matches assumptions about male and female anatomy.

If you’ve had an issue related to your gender identity, you’re not alone: A 2015 survey of transgender Americans found that 43% of those who went through airport security had experienced a problem related to being transgender. We want to learn more about what those problems are and why they happen.

If you’ve had an issue at a TSA checkpoint related to your gender identity, we hope you’ll share details of your experience with us in the form below.

We’re especially interested in hearing about situations like these:

  • A TSA officer asked you to show sensitive parts of your body.
  • A TSA officer asked you to “prove” your sex or gender.
  • A law enforcement or TSA officer made derogatory comments about your gender identity or made inappropriate remarks about your body.

We’d also like to hear from those of you who work at the TSA. As we’ve previously reported, we know that the scanners at TSA checkpoints can put officers in a tough position. We want to learn more about your training related to gender identity, as well as any practical concerns you’ve faced on the job.

We won’t voluntarily publish any information you share without your permission. If you’d rather talk on Signal or WhatsApp, which are more secure, send a message to 347-244-2134 or email [email protected].

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