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HRC Calls for TSA 'Full Investigation' Into Trans Woman's Detention

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The Human Rights Campaign wants the Transportation Security Administration to conduct a full investigation into the case of Shadi Petosky, a trans woman who says she was mistreated by TSA agents at Orlando International Airport on Monday afternoon. 

HRC president Chad Griffin sent a letter to TSA administrator Peter Neffenger calling for “immediate action to ensure transgender travelers are treated equally and with full respect,” according to a statement from the HRC.

“The TSA officer’s atrocious treatment of Ms. Petosky highlights the need for TSA to provide consistent officer training regarding transgender and gender nonconforming travelers. TSA should have comprehensive guidelines that are fully transparent to the public for TSA officers interacting with transgender individuals,” Griffin said in his letter. “In addition, the agency should require training to ensure that all officers are following agency guidelines.  We urge you to take all necessary steps to ensure that officers nationwide receive the necessary training they need to conduct their jobs respectfully and efficiently.”

Petosky, who live-tweeted the entire experience, was on her way home to Los Angeles after visiting her mother in central Florida when she was flagged by TSA agents at the security gate for what she described as an “anomaly.” 

According to her tweets, after being held by the TSA for 40 minutes and undergoing two full body pat-downs, Petosky missed her flight and endured other mistreatment while trying to book another plane ride home.

When asked for comment regarding the incident, the TSA had this to say to The Advocate:

“Our officers are trained to properly screen members of the transgender community. TSA takes all potential civil rights violations very seriously and conducted a review of the incident. After examining closed circuit TV video and other available information, TSA has determined  that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines. Supervisory personnel and a Passenger Support Specialist participated in the screening to ensure guidelines were met.”

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