A new bill in Congress, called the “Screening With Dignity Act,” could mandate that the Transportation Safety Administration alter their passenger screening program to become more “inclusive” of transgender and non-gender binary individuals.
According to Gizmodo, the bill, introduced by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), would force the TSA to adopt “new training protocols, new privacy protections, and, chiefly, a cost analysis of recalibrating full-body screening technology,” so that transgender and non-binary individuals aren’t accidentally “mis-gendered” during the X-ray screening or pat down process.
Right now, before invading your privacy, rifling through your luggage, getting a good peek at your naked body through their X-ray back scatter screening devices, or fondling your private areas, the TSA must indicate in their system whether you are male or female — there is no in between or “gender X” option.
And although the TSA strips the dignity off every passenger it handles, gender rights activists believe that final selection, male or female, adds insult to Constitutional injury. If the TSA can’t identify your gender from your appearance, it could mean extra screening, additional questioning, or other, even more invasive TSA measures.
Requesting a pat-down doesn’t solve this problem, activists claim, because the TSA is required to assign passengers a screener who matches their gender.
“No one should have to go through airport security scared that they might be humiliated, discriminated against or outed,” Rice reportedly told LGBTQ publication, “Them.” “But unfortunately, many transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals worry about this every time they get in line at a TSA checkpoint.”
“In 2018, maintaining high safety standards and screening all passengers with dignity cannot be mutually exclusive,” Rice added later, apparently unaware of the TSA’s current practices. “The transgender community deserves to be treated with fairness and respect in all aspects of life, and travel is no exception.”
The bill only has five sponsors so far.