A TikTok user has documented the anxiety she feels when going through airport security checks due to scanners unable to recognise her gender.
Trans woman Rose Montoya shared one of her “better experiences” with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in a viral TikTok video. Viewed almost 20 million times, the model said her recent visit to an airport set off alarms bells due to the "anomaly between her legs".
Ms Montoya, who is legally recognised as female on her licence, said this always happened when she was scanned at airports, giving her “immense anxiety” when approaching security.
When the female TSA security officer asked Ms Montoya if she had anything in her pants, she replied "no" and was asked to walk through the scanner again, which she again ‘failed’.
“So I told her that I am trans and just to pat me down,” Ms Montoya explained.
“And her solution was to ask if I want to be scanned as a man instead. I didn’t but I ended up doing it”.
In another video on Youtube Ms Montoya said the TSA agent responded "Oh you're one of those, we will scan you as a man instead."
While reportedly being scanned under the male setting, Ms Montoya said her breast implants set off the alarm.
“I tried to make a joke out of it and I said ‘don’t worry there’s just a bunch of plastic in there’,” she said.
'I am a woman'
Ms Montoya then explained the security guard insisted she be pat down and asked her if she wanted a male security officer to complete the check.
“I told her absolutely not… I look like a woman and I am a woman,” Ms Montoya said.
“When I tell you I’m a trans woman, that probably means I don’t want to be called a man or be felt up by a man.”
In a follow up video the woman suggested how TSA can “do better” by not boxing people into their gender identity at brith.
“TSA need to remove the gendered setting from their scanners and they should also believe me when I tell them that I’m a trans woman and that I don’t want to be pat down by a man or scanned as a man, because I’m not one," she said.
Ms Montoya said the idea of all people fitting into gendered stereotypes wasn't realistic and "transphobia was rooted in every system of power" in the US.
"We should stop enforcing gender roles and trying to force people to fit into boxes that nobody truely fits into," she said.
“Transgender people shouldn’t be expected to assimilate into cis-normative standards of image.
“Not all of us want to transition or go on hormones or have surgery, and that is valid.”
Ms Montoya said that TSA Headquarters reached out to her to ask her to share her experiences being scanned as a trans woman and listen to her suggestions on what could be done to make it less intrusive for the trans community to travel through such check points.
"I’m incredibly thankful to have been able to speak with TSA Headquarters today to share my story and give suggestions of how they can do better. I hope this brings about positive change," she wrote on YouTube.