Body Scanners Allow TSA to See You Naked

AirplaneAirport security is downright annoying. You have to show up for your flight a couple hours early, prepare for long lines at security and take off your shoes and belt before passing through a metal detector. Make sure you check your toothpaste (if it’s in a container that’s bigger than 3oz) and be prepared to have your baggage scanned, too.

But airport security is getting much worse, now that airports are using full body scanners as a part of their security measures. Can you say outrageous breach of privacy?

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) scanner was used to scan an employee during a training at Miami International Airport. Afterward, colleagues who saw the scan of his body continuously teased him about his small penis. (Yes, they could tell the size of his genitals from the scan.) Embarrassed and unable to handle the harassment, the employee snapped and beat his co-worker with a police baton in the airport parking lot.

Clearly, even TSA employees are uncomfortable with the scanner. It is far too invasive, allowing TSA employees to essentially strip search travelers and see pictures of their naked bodies.

But if you’re concerned by these new scanners, imagine how invasive they can be for transgender passengers.

Transgender people already face various difficulties flying. For example, many transgender people have outdated images on their ID that look significantly different than how they present, or different forms of identification with conflicting names or gender markers.

The scanner, which can show someone’s genitals, will likely open transgender people up to harassment. It could, for instance, cause confusion for airport personnel when transgender people go through the scanner with genitals that don’t match with their gender marker (transgender men can switch their gender marker after getting top surgery, but before getting bottom surgery). Additionally, the scanner could cause problems for transgender people who have not yet transitioned or changed their legal sex, and don’t have genitals that match with their gender presentation. It could also potentially embarrass transgender people by showing the breasts of a transgender man who is binding, or prosthetic devices for a transgender man who is packing.

Has airport security gone too far? Don’t people deserve the right to privacy, without TSA employees seeing their private parts? It seems especially troubling that transgender people will be forced to out themselves to airport security, perhaps placing them in a damaging, embarrassing, and dangerous situation.

Photo credit: U-g-g-B-o-y-(-Phot ograph-World-Sense -)