New TSA policy Codifies Discrimination Against Transgender People

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced a final rule that codifies discrimination against transgender people. The rule implements the widespread use of body-scan technology which requires a TSA agent to choose a pink or blue button based on the perceived gender of the person traveling through U.S. airports. Transgender people, as a result of the policy’s gender bias, are stopped by TSA agents and forced to undergo pat downs and inspections of genital areas and chests.

“Transgender people are regularly harassed and humiliated by current screening procedures, which treats transgender people’s bodies as ‘alarms’ and thus subjecting them to physical and emotional mistreatment. Current policies create a situation where transgender people are dehumanized and placed in harm’s way by constantly outing them and forcing them to disclose their personal lives with TSA agents in front of everyone in order to travel by airplane,” said Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan, Trans/Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

Last year, the National LGBTQ Task Force met with TSA’s executive, Administrator Peter Neffinger, alongside coalition partners urging the agency to adopt non-discriminatory policies relating to transgender people. The Task Force has also called TSA’s civil liberties office attention to known civil rights violations against transgender people.

“TSA needs to institute screening algorithms in their scanners that are universal instead of relying on stereotypical notions of what a person of one gender or another must look like. We will continue pushing TSA to implement policies that ensures the dignity, safety, and respect of each traveler, including transgender people,” said Rodriguez-Roldan.