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Transgender woman livetweets her invasive TSA detainment

TSA reportedly has no policy on how to screen transgender people.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Sep 22, 2015   Updated on May 27, 2021, 10:46 pm CDT

Shadi Petosky is a writer and executive producer at Puny Design, and she’s worked on shows like Yo Gabba Gabba!, The Aquabats!, and Parks and Recreation. She’s also a transgender woman—which reportedly became a topic of tension as she was trying to get through security at the Orlando airport on Monday.

And Petosky spent much of Monday afternoon and evening livetweeting about her experiences while dealing with the Transportation Security Administration and American Airlines. As of 10pm ET, her solution was settled for the day, but she was also no closer to her original destination of Minneapolis.

It all began like this.

Things got more stressful from there.

From there, Petosky was told to re-book her flight at the gate—if she returned to the counter, she’d have to go back through security if she actually was booked a new flight—but she couldn’t find a manned counter anywhere in the terminal. That’s when, Petosky says, a TSA agent ordered her to leave the airport, and she was escorted out of the secure area by a police officer.

Petosky says she tried to rebook at the American Airlines counter, but she was told there were no more flights to Minneapolis on Monday. Wrote Petosky: “American Airlines says that if I want to for sure fly out of Orlando today it’s $955. They’re offering standby in this hostile airport.”

Some Twitter users offered to begin crowdfunding efforts for her, but Petosky resisted that, writing, “My point of listing the prices is not to get money. It’s to show cost when the TSA detains trans bodies (Plus time, denigration).”

Eventually, Petosky was placed on a flight to Miami, but not before there was mass confusion between American Airlines, the media, the TSA, and Petosky.

Eventually, though, Petosky had to step back into the security line to get to her flight.

And when she boarded her plane, this is what she found: plenty of empty seats.

Here was the TSA’s response.

American Airlines, meanwhile, responded to Petosky in a tweet.

According to an Al-Jazeera America report in 2014, those in the transgender community were subject to “heightened scrutiny” when traveling through security checkpoints in airports.

Wrote Al-Jazeera, “Civil rights complaints, incident reports and internal memos… show that trans people have been required to undergo pat-down searches by officers of the opposite gender, reveal or remove items such as chest binders and prosthetic penises and defend challenges to their gender identities and their right to opt out of body scans, among other problems.”

Reportedly, the TSA has no specific policy on how to screen transgender people.

For Petosky, though, the day was filled with aggravation.

Photo via Shadi Petosky/Twitter

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*First Published: Sep 22, 2015, 1:29 am CDT