A transgender passenger flying on a major Australian domestic airline was subjected to “pervasive discrimination” when forced to remove his prosthetic penis while passing through security in early 2015.
Australia’s National LGBTI Health Alliance highlighted the incident to a Senate inquiry into airport and aviation security. In a written complaint, the passenger said a body scanner detected a prosthetic “worn in my underwear” and he was taken into a small room with two men.
“I pulled out my prosthetic enough for them to see,” the alliance said in the submission on behalf of the passenger.
“The supervisor said I needed to sign a form first and, while saying this, he put on a second glove.
“I asked him again what the gloves were for and he replied, ‘you want me to touch that thing with my bare hands?’
“After I signed the document I removed my prosthetic and placed it in a tray.” The passenger said the supervisor had no regard for him as a human being.
“Firstly, I was made a public spectacle of for his own amusement. Secondly, his actions and words trivialised the importance that this prosthetic was to me by referring to it as ‘that thing’.
“Thirdly, glaring at me by the doorway while I replaced my prosthetic after that search, it left me feeling humiliated and degraded.”
The National LGBTI Health Alliance said the incident was an example of what they said was a “climate of pervasive discrimination against LGBTI populations” in aviation security.
They added that some LGBTI people opt out of flying due to fears of discrimination.
The Senate inquiry is due to report in May.