ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Trending on Twitter: one transgender woman’s struggles at security at Orlando International Airport. Live tweeting the whole thing, the woman tells her followers about her traumatizing experience of going through a Transportation Security Administration's checkpoint Monday afternoon. The woman, Shadi Petosky tweeted, “I’m being held by the TSA in Orlando," because of an anatomic anomaly.
For the next 40 minutes, Petosky’s followers got a play by play of what she says was happening to her, tweeting she was given two full body pat downs, put in a private room and told to go back through the scanning machine as a man or “it was going to be a problem.” In tears, Petosky eventually tweeted she missed her American Airlines flight.
“I do think that they overreacted,” said Terry DeCarlo, who runs the LGBT Community Center of Central Florida in Orlando, “To have her there in front of people, asking ‘What is your anomaly’ and doing two body pat downs, it’s degrading.” DeCarlo has never met Petosky but says the transgender community in Orlando deals with issues like this all the time, telling FOX 35, “A lot of the trans community won’t fly, they’re afraid to go through an airport because of something like this happening.”
A TSA spokesman would not confirm the sequence of events involving Petosky, but told FOX 35 in a statement that officers are trained to properly screen members of the transgender community, and after going through closed circuit video of the entire incident, said “TSA has determined that the evidence shows our officers followed TSA’s strict guidelines.”
According to those guidelines, transgender passengers should use the name and gender that appears of their government issued ID when making reservations and at the security checkpoint. They can also ask for private baggage and body screenings. DeCarlo says those guidelines are in desperate need of reevaluation. “Maybe this will make TSA stand up and say we really need to look at this,” he added.
We asked Petosky to comment on what happened, but she refused to speak with FOX 35 about the incident. She was eventually booked on another American Airlines flight.