The TSA’s New Gender-Typed Body Scanner May Mistake Penises For Deadly Weapons

The Transportation Security Administration is set to use new body scanner software that would require screeners to choose a person’s perceived gender and then scan their bodies for “anomalies.” This could pose a problem for trans people who live as female while still retaining male body parts and vice versa.

The National Center for Transgender Equality reports:

The new software may identify “anomalies” based on gender-atypical anatomy, rather than only targeting foreign objects. This may be a security trigger which would lead to an invasive pat-down, potentially embarrassing questions and in some cases, biased harassment…

The software changes also don’t address the concerns of other groups. It may help or hinder travel for people who carry medically necessary devices or for people of certain faith traditions. For example, questions remain about how the new software detects medical devices like urine pouches, or religious wear like the kirpan, an ornamental weapon, required to be worn by orthodox Sikhs.

The TSA has already bungled its handling of trans-employees, gay travelers and homoerotic passenger pat downs, but how can trans-advocates help modify the software so that they and other groups don’t get unfairly targeted for their special bodies?