A North Carolina mother has filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration over an incident in May 2019 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport when her teenage daughter, who is transgender, was ordered to undergo a strip search, USA Today reports.
Kimberly Erway says in the lawsuit that her then-fifteen-year-old daughter, Jamii Erway, was told she had to undergo a strip search after a "false positive" at the airport’s security checkpoint. A TSA screener told the two at the time that Jamii’s genitals would be inspected in a private room.
According to the TSA webpage on transgender passengers, when going through security, "the TSA officer presses a button designating a gender (male/female) based on how you present yourself." It adds that "the machine has software that looks at the anatomy of men and women differently. The equipment conducts a scan and indicates areas on the body warranting further inspection if necessary."
The family hopes to get a jury trial in the case, and an injunction to prevent a similar situation from happening again in the future. According to the lawsuit, TSA workers told Jamii at the time that she could not leave until she had agreed to the search, which the lawsuit says is a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights, as well as state law and TSA policy.
The suit notes that Jamii became panicked and anxious after TSA agents called over a police officer after she did not comply with the search, and that Kimberly Erway rented a car and drove about 600 miles to their home in Rochester, New York, after the incident.
A spokesperson for the TSA declined to comment to USA Today about the incident, citing the ongoing litigation.
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