Exclusive: Transgender travelers singled out in TSA screenings, docs show

Department of Homeland Security documents obtained last month reveal details of incidents in which transgender travelers were subjected to heightened scrutiny when passing through airport security checkpoints.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests netted civil rights complaints, incident reports and internal memos and emails from the DHS's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Transportation Security Administration. They show that trans people have been required to undergo pat-down searches by officers of the opposite gender, reveal or remove items such as chest binders and prosthetic penises and defend challenges to their gender identities and their right to opt out of body scans, among other problems.

A 2011 UCLA study estimated that about 700,000 U.S. adults are transgender, or 0.3 percent of the adult population. An estimate by the Transgender Law Center put the number higher, at 2 to 5 percent of the population. But gender identity and expression are not fixed categories, and many trans people choose to keep their gender identities private. Attempts to survey the transgender population have begun only recently. Data on trans children is even less certain, although a new study is underway at Case Western Reserve University. Continue>>>