A transgender passenger has said he was humiliated and demeaned when he was forced to remove his prosthetic penis by airline staff.
Subjected to a full body scan, an Australian airport staff member donned two pairs of gloves to handle the penis, saying: ‘You want me to touch that thing with my bare hands?’
This incident, which took place in 2015, is the subject of a complaint made via the National LGBTI Health Alliance to a Senate committee inquiry on airport and aviation security.
According to the passenger, the body scan alerted security staff to the prosthetic he was wearing.
‘I explained to the officer at the scanner that I am trans and that I was wearing a prosthetic, to which he responded that he would need to get his supervisor,’ the victim told the Daily Mail Australia, who declined to be named.
He said the staff member was ‘more concerned with displaying his authority and making a spectacle out of the situation’.
The private search, he says, was ‘demeaning’ and ‘unnecessary’ and left him feeling anxious as he was taken to a small room and given a form to sign.
After the search, he says he was forced to put his prosthetic back in with two staff members watching him.
‘I have had to deal with some very confronting situations in the past so have developed a thick skin,’ adding he felt like a criminal.
‘This experience overshadowed what was meant to be a holiday and it has left me feeling incredibly degraded and has made me anxious about travelling.’
The complaint was lodged with an ongoing Senate investigation, with the findings due to be published in May.
This is the latest in a long line of complaints made by trans people in airports across the world. You can read more by following the hashtag #travelingwhiletrans on Twitter.