Amanda Sapir's Story of "Socially Conscious" TSA Pat Down Shows How to Treat Trans People

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

Most people are not exactly flying high after a trip through the airport security line. But, for one transgender person, an affirming experience was too good not to share. 

While going through the scanner at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, Amanda Sapir knew that the machine would get confused, Attn reported. Sapir's boxer briefs indicated to the machine that Sapir was a man, while Sapir's breasts indicated a woman. Sapir shared the story of the conversation with the Transportation Security Administration agent — and thousands of people are loving it. 

When Sapir's boxer briefs triggered the machine, TSA agent Darlena Thi Lac asked Sapir what gender best identifies Sapir. 

"Well, I consider myself gender nonconforming," Sapir responded. "I am female and also trans masculine."

Then Lac sent Sapir through the machine once more. This time Sapir's breasts caused an alert to go off, since the machine was set to detect a male body. Lac asked Sapir's gender again so that Lac could perform a pat down. 

"You get to decide how you are identified," Lac said to Sapir. 

According to the TSA's transgender passenger guidance, agents push a button indicating the gender of the passenger based on how they present. Anybody can deny to walk through the machine and ask for a pat down.

Source: Facebook

The TSA encourages transgender people to purchase tickets with the name and gender on their government-issued ID, which is difficult for many transgender people who cannot change their ID gender markers from the ones they were assigned at birth. 

In December 2015, TSA changed the word it used to indicate physical discrepancies between gender presentation and one's body. While it used to use "anomaly," the agency decided to move forward with the word "alarm." 

After the screening, which proved Sapir wasn't hiding anything, Sapir said to Lac: "Thank you. That was the kindest and most socially aware TSA experience I have ever had. Your thoughtfulness really means the world."

To which Lac responded: "I love people. We should be kind to everyone."

While Sapir's experience was a positive one, transgender people have used social media to speak up about negative experiences in the past. In September 2015, trans woman Shadi Petosky used Twitter to relay her terrible saga in which her genitals were considered an "anomaly" at Orlando's International Airport. 

Since Sapir posted the story on Saturday, the story has been shared over 6,000 times and has garnered close to 40,000 Facebook reactions. 

Source: Facebook

"Just imagine how kind and open the world would be if we all just considered each other," one commenter wrote. "Don't judge, don't assume, just be thoughtful and kind. Simple as that. I love this story so damn much!" 

People have left lots of love for Lac, the TSA agent, and she even responded to several people.

"You all are far too kind," she wrote. "Thanks to everyone who can relate as well, God bless. #Namaste."

Sapir and Lac's story shows that it takes only a little bit of kindness to send people soaring — and to get them to their gate on time. 

Read more: 
Woman's Expulsion from Florida Airport Is Just One Example of Everyday Transphobia
The TSA Is No Longer Using the Term "Anomaly" for Trans People. Here's the New Term. 
The Next Stage in the Anti-Trans Backlash Isn't Bathrooms, It's Birth Certificates

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Mathew Rodriguez

Mathew Rodriguez is a Staff Writer at Mic. He is a queer Latino New Yorker who enjoys female rappers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Flannery O'Connor. He is a former editor at TheBody.com and he is working on a memoir.

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