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Transgender Woman Says She Was Delayed by TSA for Anatomical 'Anomaly'

Shadi Petosky says she missed her flight out of Orlando because TSA workers didn't think her body parts didn’t matched her gender.
Shadi Petosky
Shadi PetoskyShadi Petosky

A transgender woman says she was delayed by TSA workers at Orlando International Airport who thought her body parts didn’t match her gender identity.

Shadi Petosky, a writer and producer, tweeted about the ordeal over her anatomical "anomaly" as it happened, saying she missed her American Airlines flight on Monday due to the incident.

"I stepped into the full body scanner, the TSA agent looked at me and pressed the F button," Petosky said in an interview with NBC News via text message. "The scanner picked up an 'anomaly' in my crotch area."

"I said, 'I’m transgender. That’s my penis,'" Petosky recalled. "The TSA officer then said something like, 'If you are a man, then go back in the machine and we’ll run you as a man.'"

Told by the agent that she needed to be run as a man or a woman, Petosky said she replied, "I'm transgender. I am a woman, but I have an atrophied penis, trying to make it kind of not a big deal."

According to Petosky, the TSA officer replied, "If you don’t want to be run as a man, we’ll have to search you. Are you a man or a woman?"

Related: Transgender Activists See Long Road Ahead Toward Workplace Inclusion

Then he asked her whether she wanted a male or female agent to search her body.

"I kind of froze. I have never been flagged in the groin before and didn’t want to make a female officer touch there, but didn’t want a man to do the pat down," she said.

"I am sure you have some kind of transgender policy. Do you have training in this?" Petosky recalled telling the agent. To which, he replied, "I know what I’m doing."

In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration said it takes "all potential civil rights violations very seriously. We are looking into the situation now for further information."

American Airlines said that it was working to rebook Petosky, a comics author, digital content producer and co-founder of Puny Entertainment, an interactive entertainment media studio. Her version of the airport events could not be independently confirmed by NBC News.

She says she never expected to be singled out:

She finally made it through security but the incident left her with a sour taste.

She said she was finally rebooked on another flight leaving out of Miami the next day.