Trans woman shares ‘disgusting’ experience of airport security: ‘Disturbing and hurtful’

A screenshot from's Instagram account showing two images of the trans woman after her experience at Orlando International Airport

A trans woman has called on Transportation Security Admin (TSA) to “be better” after they were subjected to a “disturbing and hurtful” experience that saw them called out as trans to a crowd. 

Instagram user, who uses they/them pronouns, took to the platform on Monday (30 January) to share the ordeal they experienced while going through TSA at Orlando International Airport. 

TSA has told PinkNews it will conduct a “thorough investigation” into the incident.

The post, which has picked up hundreds of comments, was posted with the caption “please share”, and went on to detail that TSA “continues to treat us transgender individuals with disrespect”. 

In the video they said: “So, as most of you already know, one of the worst things about travelling as trans is going through TSA. 

“My experience today mirrors a lot of what other trans people have gone through. Going through TSA, of course, you go through the big body scanner which if you have boobs and bottom part, well, it’s going to flag you. 

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“I’m ready for that and I’m expecting that. The problem is that the TSA continually does not train their employees on how to respectfully pat down and talk to trans people.” then explained the horrifying experience they had with a TSA staff member, saying they not only repeatedly touched them in intimate areas, but also announced their transgender identity to other travellers.

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They continued: “The person that I had that was patting me down continually decided to rub down there, multiple times, all over me, and then very loudly put it out there to everyone in the crowd that I was trans with a penis and with boobs and that she had no idea and she didn’t know if she could clear me.” 

According to the staff member then said she had to check with her supervisor to see if she could clear them.

“It’s just ridiculous at this point. It’s so easy to just be respectful. Say ‘you got flagged, I need to check.’ Be better TSA,” concluded in the video. 

‘No person should ever be treated this way’

On the post’s caption said they had to “constantly tell the officer” they are transgender and “not concealing anything in my pants”. 

“The most disgusting part was that the TSA officer constantly said that my bottom part was poking her, which was not true at all. 

“It was totally disturbing and hurtful to say in front of me and to everyone around,” they added. 

“I am just…. well, there are no words. Having to go through that was horrible. No person should ever be treated this way. Treat all humans with respect and dignity.” 

TSA told PinkNews it takes “passenger complaints seriously, and we are committed to ensuring every traveler is treated with respect and courtesy”.

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The spokesperson for TSA added: “I understand the passenger has been in touch with the TSA Orlando customer service manager, and we are conducting a thorough investigation.”

Airport expects employees to ‘treat others with respect’

Having tagged Orlando International Airport in the post, the account commented under the video to say “we’re very sorry to see this experience”. 

The apology added: “We expect all employees and partners to treat others with respect at all times in our facilities and we take your comments seriously.” .

Comments under the video have flooded with support, with many sharing their own experiences of airport security. 

“I am so sorry you had to experience such horrible behaviour. I cannot understand why any “issue” at a checkpoint has to become such a public show,” said one follower.

“I’ve had so many ‘random’ checks because of my ethnicity. Getting pre-check reduced that, but I shouldn’t have to get it to prevent them from feeling me up,” another user wrote. 

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