TSA Releases Guidance on Screening for Transgender Travelers

The TSA has published an informational video for transgender air travelers about what they can expect from screening procedures.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wants to alleviate potential confusion or concerns transgender travelers may have about going through security checkpoints at airports.

The agency has released a new video with information on how screening procedures are conducted for transgender individuals.

“TSA recognizes members of the transgender community may have concerns with certain security screening procedures when flying,” says the video.

The first tip from the video tells transgender travelers to make sure that the information on their boarding passes matches the information on their government issued ID.

Travelers are screened by walk through metal detectors or advanced imaging technology. When entering this part of the screening process, TSA officers will press a button “designating a gender based on how you present yourself,” according to the video.

Procedures carried out from this point forward are then based on that gender selection. If travelers cannot or choose not to be screened by the advanced imaging process, a pat down will be conducted by a TSA officer of the same gender.

The video also notes that if there is an alarm in the screening process on a prosthesis in a “sensitive area,” TSA officers will work with the traveler to resolve the alarm “in the best way possible.” The video also says that travelers will not be asked to reveal a sensitive area.

Legislation for Transgender Travelers

This is not the first time concerns have been raised about screening for transgender passengers. Legislation was introduced in the previous Congress to improve the screening process for transgender travelers.

The Screening With Dignity Act of 2016 (H.R. 6420) directed the TSA Administrator to develop procedures to “appropriately screen self-identified transgender passengers.”

The bill ultimately failed to advance and died in the previous Congress.

More “Comprehensive” Screening Procedures

The TSA recently announced that it was changing the way it conducts pat-downs on air travelers to “lessen the cognitive burden” for screening officers. Previously, travelers were offered one of five different pat-down procedures; now there is only one which the agency described as more “comprehensive.”

The changes were projected to be so much more noticeable that the TSA asked local airport law enforcement to be briefed on procedures in case passengers called to report being subjected to an abnormal screening process by a TSA employee.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.