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A transgender woman says TSA in Orlando detained her because of an 'anomaly'

Shadi Petosky, twitter.com
Shadi Petosky, twitter.com

After enjoying the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal last weekend, Shadi Petosky was traveling back home Monday when TSA officials at the Orlando International Airport detained her for an “anomaly.”

Petosky, who is a transgender woman and a writer, started tweeting her experience after she stepped into the body scan machine, where officers select a pink or blue button to scan female and male travelers based on officers’ gender perceptions. People whose bodies don’t conform to their perceived gender, like transgender and gender non-conforming people, can be subject to additional screenings and pat-downs.

Petosky said the body scanner picked up an “anomaly,” so she told the officer she was transgender, but she said the agent didn’t appear to understand her. She was searched, put in a small room and eventually told by an official to get back in the scanning machine "as a man" or "it was going to be a problem."

The ordeal caused Petosky to miss her flight, and an American Airlines spokesperson said she was immediately rebooked for the next available flight at no charge. But Petosky says after asking American Airlines employees for a boarding pass, employees told a police officer to escort her from the airport. The officer refused and told the employees to give her a ticket.

“I don't think my body is an anomaly,” Petosky said in a viral Tweet. “I like tons of people with my body. Can there be more buttons?”

TSA spokesman Mike England said officers are trained to properly screen members of the transgender community and the office takes potential civil rights violations seriously. The agency determined from video and other evidence that officers followed strict TSA’s guidelines, England said.