- Rosalynne Montoya, a trans model and activist, shared her negative experience at the airport on TikTok.
- Montoya said bad experiences in airport security are sadly common for trans people.
- Airport security scanners do not take trans bodies into account.
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Rosalynne Montoya, a transgender Latina model and activist, shared her uncomfortable experience going through airport security with her 481,000 TikTok followers on March 20.
Montoya, who uses the pronouns she and them, said she usually has immense anxiety going through the security line. While your gender markers on your ID cards are correct, you generally activate the scanner because of your body.
“Going through the scanner, there’s a male scanner and a female scanner at the TSA checkpoint, and looking at me, you know, I look like a woman and I’m a woman,” Montoya said on TikTok.
“But when I go through the scanner, I always have an ‘abnormality’ between my legs that sets off the alarm.”
Montoya told her followers that the TSA agent scanned her again without success. After the second time, she told the officer that she was trans and the officer used the “male” body scan, which still went off because Montoya has breasts.
“So she said, ‘Okay, we have to pat you down. Do you want a man to do it?’ I said, “No! Of course not,” Montoya said.
Gender body scans do not take trans bodies into account
Unfortunately, the experience is common for many trans people, as the body scans used for security do not take into account people with different genitalia, such as trans and intersex people. For example, a person with a penis and breasts will activate the scanner because the breasts are not considered in the male scanner and a penis is not considered in the female scanner.
This can cause unnecessary distress, anxiety, and pat-downs for many transgender people, making the security screening experience more stressful.
“For many transgender, non-binary, and gender nonconforming people, going through airport security is a grueling and often humiliating and traumatizing ordeal,” Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Rights Center, told CNN. of Lesbians.
In a follow-up video looking at how the TSA can improve, Montoya said the problem is systemic transphobia built into the TSA security system.
“There is ingrained transphobia in all the power systems of this nation,” Montoya told his followers. “The fundamental solution is to believe in transgender people when they tell you who they are.”