Justice for Transgender Woman Humiliated by TSA


Target: Peter V. Neffenger, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Goal: Urge the TSA to issue an apology to a transgender woman who was mistreated by security and refund the money she had to pay for an additional flight after they caused her to miss her original flight.

Shadi Petosky was like every other traveler when she was trying to get her flight out of Miami. However, when she got to security she gained extra attention that left her feeling mortified. Shadi is a transgender woman and says when stepping through the full body scanner, an anomaly was picked up in her groin area. Petosky explained herself to the security officer, “I’m transgender. That’s my penis.” The officer she spoke with reportedly told Shadi to “Get back into the machine like a man.” Petosky said surely the officer has training in transgender policy and there was an appropriate and respectful way to go about it, to which the TSA agent allegedly replied “I know what I’m doing.”

Petosky was then subjected to two full-body pat downs, along with all of her luggage being taken apart and examined. After she was put through that ordeal, she was relocated to a holding room with an officer at the door. By this time, 40 minutes had gone by and Petosky had missed her flight. American Airlines responded to the incident by publicly stating they had refunded her missed flight, however, Petosky states that is a lie. She tweeted a picture of her still at the airport with the caption “Can American Airlines explain how if they immediately booked me flight to Minneapolis that I standing in Miami?!” (Sic)

“I literally want to no lectures from American Airlines on how to travel while trans. I want the same privileges as [cisgender] people.” (Sic), Petosky tweeted following the incident. Sign this petition to demand that TSA publicly apologize to this poor woman who was just trying to travel with the same treatment given to everyone else.


Dear Mr. Neffenger,

The goal of the Transportation Security Administration is to have an efficiently running, fair system that makes flying safe. However, at a recent incident in Miami, your agent’s time was not being spent keeping travelers safe, but subjecting them to unfair treatment. Shadi Petosky, a trans woman, was flying home from a trip to the Orlando theme parks for her mother’s birthday when she was treated unfairly by officers and forced to miss her flight due to interrogations, pat downs and detainment. They spotted her genitals as an anomaly and after she explained her situation, all she was told by officers was that they “…knew what they were doing.”

Petosky deserves fair and equal treatment while traveling and she was not given that. The incident caused her to miss her flight and she was given no compensation for booking a new flight. The manner in which TSA agents went about the situation was disgraceful and rude. One agent even told her to “get back into the machine like a man.”

We urge you to apologize to this poor woman who was publicly humiliated and ensure that she is refunded for the extra costs charged to her as a result of missing her flight.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Shadi Petosky

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