Shadi Petosky just wanted out of Orlando, Florida. On Monday night, Petosky, a 35-year-old transgender woman, attempted to board a flight at Orlando’s International Airport when she was detained by the TSA. The reason? An “anomaly” — her genitals. The TSA does have a policy for treating trans fliers, but there’s just one problem with it.
Passengers shall be entitled to opt out from a
security scanner. In this case the passenger shall be screened by an
alternative screening method including at least a hand search in
accordance with Attachment 4-A of Commission Implementing Decision
C(2015) 8005. When the security scanner alarms, the cause of the alarm
shall be resolved.
Before being screened by a security scanner, the
passenger shall be informed of the technology used, the conditions
associated to its use and the possibility to opt out from a security
Judges derived this based on the European Convention on Human Rights which protects privacy and dignity. The argument being that for some people it could be a traumatic experience. The case above being one example, but lets think about a woman who survived breast cancer but lost one of her breasts now replaced by a prosthetic flagged by a machine which doesn’t know better. She would be publicly exposed, humiliated and reminded about one of the most traumatic experiences of her life, just for taking an airplane.
Most European countries have stopped the usage of boy scanners or at least comply with the rules. A prominent exception being the UK, which frequently neglects to inform passengers about their right to opt out.