A mother in North Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration over an incident in May 2019 that took place at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The mother says that TSA agents pressed her trans daughter to be strip-searched.
According to the lawsuit filed last week, Kimberly Erway and her then-15-year-old daughter, Jamii Erway, were flying from the airport. As Jamii went into the TSA body scanner it reported a "false positive," according to USA Today. Erway spoke to the TSA about the scan and her daughter.
Eventually, a TSA screener told the pair that Jamii would have to have her genitals checked, the lawsuit claims.
On its website, the TSA states that once someone enters the scanner, "the TSA officer presses a button designating a gender (male/female) based on how you present yourself."
The agency's website also says it "recognizes the concerns that some members of the transgender community may have with certain security screening procedures at the nation's security checkpoints. TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. Screening is conducted without regard to a person's race, color, sex, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability."
Jamii told the scanner operator she was transgender and asked to be rescanned after the "false positive," but the lawsuit says the operator refused. The operator then called over a supervisor. That supervisor told Jamii would have to go in a private room and wouldn't be allowed to leave the area if she refused.
The supervisor called a police officer to them when Kimberly wouldn't agree. The officer wouldn't detain the teen, CNN reported.
The family then rented a car and drove 600 miles home, according to the complaint.
Erway is requesting a jury trial, unspecified damages, and an injunction preventing similar situations from happening in the future. The family is also suing the TSA supervisor.