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Elizabeth Warren Wants to Make It Safe For Trans People to Fly

Elizabeth Warren Wants to Make It Safe For Trans People to Fly

Elizabeth Warren Wants to Make It Safe For Trans People to Fly

She called to end the “invasive and dehumanizing screenings” to which trans people are subjected at TSA checkpoints.

A ProPublica report released earlier this week revealed that trans travelers are routinely subjected to degrading treatment in U.S. airports, where they face probing questions about their genitals and uncomfortable pat downs by security workers.

Elizabeth Warren read that story, and she has a plan to fix it. Well, maybe she doesn't have a plan quite yet, but she's working on it.

The 2020 contender tweeted out the ProPublica report on Tuesday with a call to end the "invasive and dehumanizing screenings" that many trans people experience just to be able to visit their family members or go on a relaxing vacation. The nonprofit journalism organization collected more than 170 reports of ant-trans harassment and discrimination at U.S. airports.

"We must do better -- and I'll keep working to ensure that every trans and non-binary American is able to live without fear or discrimination," the Massachusetts Senator said.

Addressing the issue would entail a complete overhaul of the airport security systems. In 2010, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rolled out body scanners that were intended to assess threats to safety by checking for abnormalities on the person of individuals who walk through the detector.

One of the many issues with the technology is that the scanners were designed with a binary view of the human form in mind. Thus, any seeming variation from the male or female divide is flagged as a potential threat.

Perhaps the larger issue, though, is that the TSA appears to be ill-equipped to deal with the major blindspot in its security measures. In one of the most horrific cases ProPublica documented, a transgender woman was pulled aside to a private screening room and informed a male agent would need to pat down her genitals. To avoid being groped by a stranger, she requested to flash the TSA team instead.

Despite the fact that transgender people make up just one percent of the population, these kinds of cases account for five percent of all complaints to TSA every year.

The TSA has maintained its protocol is not intended to target trans people.

"Screening is conducted without regard to a person's race, color, sex, gender identity, national origin, religion or disability," the federal agency, which is housed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has claimed in response to reports of discrimination.

If elected president, Warren could assist the TSA by working to bring its technology into the 21st security, but it won't be cheap. The machines reportedly cost $160 million.

The presidential candidate has been one of the most outspoken supporters of LGBTQ+ rights on the 2020 campaign trail. Warren has called to pass a federal civil rights bill protecting LGBTQ+ people in all areas of life, in addition to pledging to end the blood ban for gay and bisexual donors, outlaw conversion therapy, and allow transgender people to serve openly in the military.

Tackling the TSA's trans travelers problem would also go a long way toward addressing the one black mark on Warren's LGBTQ+ rights record. While running for governor of Massachusetts in 2012, she remarked that gender-affirming care for trans inmates wasn't a "good use of taxpayer dollars." She has since apologized.

Warren is currently sitting in third in poll averages tallied by RealClearPolitics, behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

RELATED | Elizabeth Warren Shuts Down 'Republican Talking Points' at Debate

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