Transgenders and the TSA
November 22, 2010 11:16 AM   Subscribe

What is the official TSA policy on flying transgender regarding the enhanced search procedures for both transgender fliers as well as transgender TSA agents?
posted by Ardiril to Law & Government (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would be pretty surprised if there's any official policy on that yet.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:26 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

The Center for Transgender Equality has a resource guide on these topics.

I am pretty sure that there's no proviso for, say, a trans male passenger requesting a trans male TSA agent, if that's what the second part of your question is getting at?
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:29 AM on November 22, 2010

I believe the official line regarding the TSA officers is that whatever their legal gender is what they go by. Which has caused some issues when let's say a Male to female transgendered officer looks very female, but is not legally female and must perform patdowns on men.

Regarding passengers, I believe it's generally whatever the TSA officer thinks the gender the of passenger is because the person looking at their id is not the same person doing the patdown and they don't exactly ask every person's gender before they perform the patdown. I think if it is apparent that the person was not born the gender they are dressed as (I apologize if I am not using the proper terminology) usually an officer of the same sex as what they believe the passenger was born as would perform the patdown.

I should also say this is anecdotal, but I have it on fairly good authority that this is generally what happens.
posted by whoaali at 11:30 AM on November 22, 2010

A passenger can always request an agent of their own gender for the patdown, even if the screener has previously mistaken the passenger's gender. The thing is that passengers requesting female agents often have to wait.

A passenger cannot request that an agent be trans or cis.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:39 AM on November 22, 2010

The relevant section of the TSA SOP document reads (italics mine):

The HHMD TSO is responsible for HHMD screening and pat-down inspections in accordance with the Screening Checkpoint SOP. All HHMD and pat-down searches must be conducted by TSOs of the same gender as the individual presents him or herself to be. Extraordinary circumstances may occur where a TSO of the same gender is not available, including staffing shortage emergencies at any airport or limited staffing at category II, III, and IV airports. Under these circumstances, TSOs of the opposite gender may be allowed to screen individuals in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 4.3.14 of this SOP. During opposite gender screening an STSO or LTSO, if possible, should be present. This rule applies to all references of same gender screening in the Screening Checkpoint SOP.
Be advised that this document will be out of date until such time as they incompetently leak a revision.
posted by odinsdream at 11:52 AM on November 22, 2010

Regarding the gender of the TSA employees: There's nothing in the document specifically about that. Obviously they need to classify their employees either male or female in order to meet their SOP requirements. I'd assume this happens during hiring.
posted by odinsdream at 12:01 PM on November 22, 2010

here is what is being shared by advocates in the transgender communities.
posted by anya32 at 2:26 PM on November 22, 2010

NCTE's latest post on this.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:54 PM on November 22, 2010

"You have the right to have manual search procedures performed by an officer who is of the same gender as the gender you are currently presenting yourself as."

This is about as good as I think we can get.
posted by Ardiril at 4:53 PM on November 22, 2010

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