In late July, On Guard reported that a delegate headed for the Democratic National Convention from San Francisco was stopped by airport security for a “groin anomaly” discovered in body scanners.
Mia “Tu Mutch” Satya wasn’t smuggling anything into Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C., of course, as the “anomaly” the Transportation Security Administration targeted her for was the biological anatomy she was born with.
Now the San Francisco Human Rights Commission is speaking out on behalf of Satya and transgender people generally, in a letter penned Aug. 2 by SFHRC Acting Executive Director Zoe Polk, to the TSA.
The TSA needs new policies regarding trans folks, Polk wrote, and they need them soon.
Polk expressed “deep concern” about Satya’s treatment, which included a TSA agent’s pat down of her genitals and a request to strip her underwear, which, as this column pointed out previously, flies in the face of the TSA’s own guidelines.
“This was undertaken in contravention of TSA transgender screening policy, which dictates that a traveler ‘will not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal sensitive body areas,’” Polk wrote.
Diplomatically, Polk offered help crafting policy, pointing out that the SFHRC oversees San Francisco’s anti-discrimination ordinances, and has fought bigotry since 1964.
Satya is a “national figure” in the transgender equality movement, as an advocate for communities across San Francisco.
Polk wrote, “If Ms. Satya is subject to these most invasive of TSA screening procedures, some of which appear to violate TSA’s own policies on their face, other transgender individuals likely have even less protections or likelihood of recourse.”
Basically, if Satya’s rights were stamped on, it doesn’t speak well of the rights of transgender folks who don’t have a national platform to speak from.
And in a twist, Satya was on her way to celebrate the Democratic Party’s platform of “LGBT non-discrimination and full inclusion” when she was stopped by the TSA’s binary “male”- and “female”-reading scanning machines.
The incident “reveals the need” for greater scrutiny when the TSA sees what they call groin anomalies, Polk wrote, especially because Satya’s experience is far from unique.
After this column first reported Satya’s story, the New York Daily News, Washington Times, Raw Story, and NBC Bay Area picked it up. Despite the attention, the TSA has been mum.
They’ve said zip, zero, nada and nothing.
Satya said she was grateful to HRC “for raising visibility on this important issue that is symptomatic of the routine discrimination transgender people continue to face.”
Trans rights, she said, “aren’t special rights.” Trans rights are fundamental human rights.