Trans Woman Live-Tweets TSA Asking Her About Penis, Misses Her Flight

Airports are among the least pleasant places to be stuck in. Between the lines, the crowds and the security checks, the sheer stress of traveling can seriously take its toll on one's sanity.

But for one traveler, a discriminatory TSA staff turned an already unpleasant experience into a nightmarish, embarrassing ordeal — and she's doing her part to make sure everybody knows about it.

Shadi Petosky, a transgender television writer and producer, sent out a tweet Monday afternoon, alerting her followers to the unfair treatment she received while passing through security at an Orlando-area airport.

According to Petosky, the airport's security agents held her for two full-body searches and a luggage search because of what they called an “anomaly” — code for "being transgender."

The staff targeted her and proceeded to undermine and devalue her femininity during the search; one TSA agent even told her to “be a man.”

Petosky live-tweeted the entire horrific affair.

I am being held by the TSA in Orlando because of an "anomaly" (my penis) — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

And thankfully, she received waves of support from her fans and the rest of the Twitter community.

TSA agent Bramlet told me to get back in the machine as a man or it was going to be a problem. — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

The hope is, by broadcasting the prejudice, Petosky can influence some change in the way trans people are treated.

I fly all the time and this has never happened. I really thought the TSA was good about trans issues. I am so dumb. — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

But it shouldn't have to take a crippling experience such as this to receive fair treatment.

Cop asked me what sex I was. I told him I wasn't going to answer that question. I am complying but come on. — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

No matter what gender, all people are human…

I am through. It was about 40 minutes, 2 full body pat downs, fully disassembled luggage. I missed my flight. — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

...and deserve to be treated with decency and respect.

I don't think my body is an anomaly. I like tons of people with my body. Can there be more buttons? — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

What Petosky went through is truly horrific...

They're telling me they have to take my phone. I told them that I want to use this to keep a record of what is happening — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

...and illustrates how painfully far behind some parts of this country still are in terms of understanding and promoting equality.

The TSA at the Orlando Airport told me I couldn't take photos but this is denigrating. I have missed my flight — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

American Airlines has yet to make a statement on the incident…

They told me to get myself together, I am sobbing, not belligerent. — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

...but frankly, it should be ashamed.

American Airlines manager is telling me that "in the future ask for a private screening" — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015


I literally want to no lectures from American Airlines on how to travel while trans. I want the same privileges as cis people. — Shadi Petosky (@shadipetosky) September 21, 2015

Citations: Trans Woman Live Tweets Her TSA Nightmare (Refinery29)