TSA recognizes the concerns that some members of the transgender community may have with certain security screening procedures at the nation’s security checkpoints. TSA is committed to ensuring all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. Screening is conducted without regard to a person’s race, color, sex, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability.
Prior to the Airport
TSA verifies identification through Secure Flight. When making a reservation, you are encouraged to use the same name, gender and birth date as indicated on your government-issued ID. Read additional information about identification.
All baggage must go through the screening process. If a traveler has any medical equipment or prostheses in a carry-on bag, the items will be allowed through the checkpoint after the traveler completes the screening process. If a bag must be opened by an officer to resolve an alarm, the traveler may ask that bags be screened in private.
Contacting TSA in Advance
Prior to a flight, you may contact the TSA Cares helpline at (855) 787-2227 with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at a checkpoint. You may request the assistance of a passenger support specialist, who will provide assistance when you arrive at the airport.
While at the Airport
Travel Document Checker
At the checkpoint, present your government-issued identification and boarding pass to the TSA officer who will ensure the identification and boarding pass are authentic and match.
You will be screened by walk-through metal detectors or advanced imaging technology.
Advanced imaging technology uses automated target recognition software that eliminates passenger-specific images and instead auto-detects potential threats by indicating their location on a generic outline of a person. The generic outline is identical for all passengers.
AIT Screening Process: When you enter the imaging portal, the TSA officer presses a button designating a gender (male/female) based on how you present yourself. The machine has software that looks at the anatomy of men and women differently. The equipment conducts a scan and indicates areas on the body warranting further inspection if necessary. If there is an alarm, TSA officers are trained to clear the alarm, not the individual. Additional screening is conducted to determine whether a prohibited item is present.
Pat-Down: If you cannot or choose not to be screened by advanced imaging technology or a walk-through metal detector, you will undergo a pat-down procedure instead. You may also undergo a pat-down procedure if you alarm the screening equipment and/or at random. If a pat-down is performed, it will be conducted by an officer of the same gender as you present yourself. Screening can be conducted in a private screening area with a witness or companion of the traveler’s choosing. Please see additional guidance for prostheses.
You may request private screening or ask to speak with a supervisor at any time during the screening process.
Requesting a Pat-Down: You may request to receive a pat-down instead of AIT screening. You may request to have a pat-down in private and be accompanied by a companion of your choice. You may bring your carry-on baggage to the private screening area and may request a chair to sit if needed. You will not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal sensitive body areas.
If you have witnessed unprofessional conduct or experienced an inappropriate screening process at a security checkpoint, you may request to speak with a supervisor at the checkpoint. You may also submit your concern to the TSA Contact Center.
If you have experienced discrimination, you may email or submit a civil rights complaint.
More information at: www.tsa.gov website.
This information was downloaded by Wanda Full in order to identify concerns of the transgender community regarding airport security rules and regulations. The concerns may apply to cross dressers as well.
If you have any unique airport security experiences that you might want to add by responding to this article and tell us how you were treated as a member of the transgender or cross dresser communities, please feel free to send in your story.
Wanda Full, CDH member and photo administrator here at Crossdresser Heaven