Rosalynne Montoya, who goes by Rose and uses the pronouns she/her or they/them, was flying from Phoenix to Los Angeles when she was stopped at security after the full-body scanner detected an ‘anomaly’ between her legs.
‘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,’ the Hispanic model explained in her viral TikTok, which has been viewed 19 million times.
Awful: Rosalynne Montoya, a non-binary transgender woman, opened up about the humiliation she faced at airport security when she was flying from Phoenix to Los Angeles
‘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. But, going through the scanner, there’s a male scanner and a female scanner in the TSA checkpoint.’
When a traveler enters the scanner, a TSA officer presses a button designating a gender, either male or female, based on the traveler’s appearance, according to the TSA website.
The system doesn’t account for transgender people, which makes traveling incredibly difficult and sometimes scary for members of the trans community.
‘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 continued. ‘But, going through the scanner, I always have an “anomaly” between my legs that sets off the alarm.
Frustrating: The Arizona resident, who uses the pronouns she/her or they/them, said the full-body scanner detected an ‘anomaly’ between her legs when she walked through
Misgendered: Montoya told the TSA officer she was trans and offered to be pat down, but she was asked if she wanted to go through the male scanner instead
‘And so [the TSA attendant] asked me 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.”‘
Montoya said she went through the scanner a second time and once again set off the alarm. This time, she told the TSA officer she was transgender.
‘So, I was like look, I’m trans. 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,’ she recounted.
‘So, I tried 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.”‘
Role model: Montoya, who has more than 481,000 TikTok followers, has been using her platform to educate others about the difficulties trans people face
Candid: Montoya revealed in another video that she used a ‘Tuck Kit’ to tape her groin on her return flight, allowing her to go through the TSA scanner without setting it off
Advice: ‘There is transphobia rooted into every system of power in this nation, so the root solution is to simply believe transgender people when they tell you who they are,’ she said
In the comments, she noted that she had ‘tested negative for COVID’ and wore a mask the entire time in the airport, except when she ate and filmed the video.
Montoya, who has more than 481,000 TikTok followers, has been using her platform to educate others about the difficulties trans people face.
‘Being pulled over by the police or traveling is terrifying for many of us because of our documentation not being accurate,’ she explained in a follow-up video. ‘This is a large problem because there is a lot of gatekeeping.
‘It’s very difficult sometimes to change your documents,’ she noted. ‘Many states require you to have surgery, which is also difficult to access in the first place. Most states don’t allow non-binary people to have a genderless marker on their identification documents.’
Montoya said the state of Idaho, where she was born, still won’t let her change her birth certificate, but all of her other legal documents have been changed to reflect she is female.
Raising awareness: Montoya said she felt misgendered and disrespected at the airport, insisting that ‘TSA needs to remove the gender settings from their scanners’
Hitting back: Montoya said TSA should believe her when she tells them she is a trans woman and doesn’t want to be pat down by or a man or scanned as one
‘So while my legal documents are changed, I truly hope that transgender people will be able to change their documents more easily in the future,’ she said.
Montoya revealed in another video that she had an easier time flying back home because she used a ‘Tuck Kit’ to tape her groin, allowing her to go through the TSA scanner without setting it off.
Many people asked her what TSA can do better, and she pointed out that the problem is systemic.
‘There is transphobia rooted into every system of power in this nation, so the root solution is to simply believe transgender people when they tell you who they are,’ she said.
‘TSA needs to remove the gender settings from their scanners, and they should also believe me when I tell them that I’m a trans woman and that I don’t want to be pat down by a man or scanned as a man because I’m not one.’