Trans woman tears into ‘transphobic’ TSA in viral video over scanner sensing ‘anomaly between my legs that sets off the alarm’

Mary Margaret Olohan, DCNF

  • A bisexual, non-binary, transgender woman tore into “transphobic” TSA in a viral video over a TSA scanner that she said sensed an “anomaly between my legs that sets off the alarm.”
  • Montoya said the TSA agent reportedly asked “if I had anything in my pants and I told her ‘no’ and she’s like, ‘Well, maybe it’s just like the metal on your shorts, so let’s scan you again.’”
  • “So, I was like look, I’m trans,” Montoya said. “Just pat me down. And her solution was, ‘Do you want to be scanned as a man instead?’ I didn’t. But, I ended up doing it and then my boobs set off the scanner because, of course.”

A bisexual, non-binary, transgender woman tore into “transphobic” TSA in a viral video over a TSA scanner that reportedly sensed an “anomaly between my legs that sets off the alarm.”

Rosalynne Montoya, a “public speaker, model, actor, makeup artist, and content creator,” according to told Buzzfeed in an interview. In the viral video, Montoya describes an incident that allegedly occurred while Montoya was traveling from Phoenix to Los Angeles. 

“Can we talk about how horrible it is to travel while being transgender sometimes? I always have immense anxiety leading up to going through security. And this means that I totally recognize the privilege of having all of my documents correct. So, the gender marker on my license, for example, says female,” Montoya said in the video. 

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“But, going through the scanner, there’s a male scanner and a female scanner in the TSA checkpoint,” the trans woman continued. “And, looking at me, you know, I look like a woman and I am a woman. So, that’s great. I love having systemic privilege when I feel unsafe, which is in an airport.”

Montoya said TSA scanners always indicate that Montoya has “an ‘anomaly’ between my legs that sets off the alarm.”

A TSA agent reportedly asked Montoya “if I had anything in my pants and I told her ‘no’ and she’s like, ‘Well, maybe it’s just like the metal on your shorts, so let’s scan you again.’”

But when Montoya reportedly went through the scanner again, the alarm went off.

“So, I was like look, I’m trans,” Montoya said. “Just pat me down. And her solution was, ‘Do you want to be scanned as a man instead?’ I didn’t. But, I ended up doing it and then my boobs set off the scanner because, of course.”

Montoya described trying to “make a joke out of it.”

“I was like, ‘Oh yeah, there’s a lot of plastic in there! It’s fine.’ So then she was like, ‘OK, well we have to pat you down. Do you want a man to do it?’ I said, ‘NO! Absolutely not.’”

A number of states require transgender persons to have bottom surgery before they can change their gender marker, Montoya said, but Montoya reportedly changed documents in Washington “which is luckily more trans-friendly than most states.”

“I feel incredibly thankful and fully recognize this is a privilege many trans people do not have,” Montoya said, according to Buzzfeed.

“The scanners at TSA checkpoints are made with only two settings, forcing the TSA agents to make a split-second decision on whether to scan travelers as male or female,” Montoya added, according to Buzzfeed, adding, “Afterwards, I took a deep breath, grabbed my things and bought myself a cookie butter latte and a snack. I felt dysphoric and disrespected, but remembered how much worse this experience used to be. I FaceTimed my boyfriend, who listened to my story and calmed me down.”

Montoya told Buzzfeed that this is not the first uncomfortable travel experience that Montoya has faced.

“I am not a second-class citizen,” Montoya told Buzzfeed. “I’m deserving of the same rights and the same respect as cisgender people. The TSA security machines should account for trans and non-binary people.”

“And the agents should understand that misgendering me and outing me as a trans person in public could be potentially dangerous,” Montoya continued. “Trans people are attacked at alarming rates when we are outed — especially Black trans women.”

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