Kristin Beck, a transgender former SEAL Team 6 member was on her way to Kansas City to give a speech to federal employees about gender sensitivity. She said that while at Reagan National Airport, the TSA humiliated her by referring her by the wrong pronoun.
Kristen Beck, formerly known as Christopher Beck, who publicly came out as transgender in 2013, entered the security checkpoint and walked inside the body scanner.
Beck told CNN that she was flagged by the security screening and had to be pat down by TSA security agents. The two agents, one man and one woman, instead, turned their backs to Beck and began whispering.
“I’m a female,” Beck said she told them. “It’s no big deal.”
A supervisor was called over and he directed the male agent to pat “him” down, she said.
“These are my real boobs, he’s not going to pat me down,” Beck said. “This is wrong. I’m a female, it says female on my Maryland driver’s license. This is the real me.”
The supervisor then responded by saying, “Then somebody pat him down,” she recalled.
The female agent then proceeded to conduct the pat down, but she walked away in tears.
TSA guidelines say that when a person goes through the body scanner, a TSA agent has to choose whether the person going through is a man or a woman based on their appearance. Then, a scan is conducted based on the persons anatomy and if they do not match up to the body type selected, they are stopped for further inspection.
“Just when I thought TSA was doing well with gender and those of us that don’t quite conform to magazine model stereotypes…. They call me ‘him’ and ask if TSA Dude can pat me down?” she wrote on Facebook Tuesday.
“I’m sad, for TSA, our country, our future… Why is this so difficult? I’m a tomboy, I’m an American, I’m a veteran, I’m combat wounded warrior, I’m a real human with real feelings,” she added. “Oh, the kicker. I’m flying to Kansas City to give a HUMAN RIGHTS speech at Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons on rights and treatment etc.”
Following the incident, a TSA spokesman reached out to Beck to apologize for the conduct of their employees.
“We regret that Ms. Beck had a negative screening experience and apologize for any embarrassment or discomfort this experience might have caused. We have contacted Ms. Beck to discuss her concerns and will continue to work with her and other members of the transgender community to improve training and protocols,”spokesman Bruce Anderson told CNN. “We are committed to ensuring that all travelers are treated with respect and courtesy. We continue to supplement standard operating procedures with training aimed at providing our officers with the tools they need to ensure they are sensitive to the needs of travelers and engage positively and appropriately with transgender passengers.”
Beck recounted the story the following day at her speech. She said that several TSA employees came up to her and apologized and said “Not all employees are like that.”