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Old Aug 31, 10, 6:29 pm   #16
  
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Originally Posted by doober View Post
Are you married? Do you want to stay married? If so, I'd advise not asking for a person of the opposite sex to do your pat down.
I just discussed this with my wife. Mrs. Dace said I could ask for a female TSO to pat me down as long as she could watch.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 6:31 pm   #17
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Originally Posted by WillR View Post
And back on topic, I agree. It harks back to heteronormative society, and the unspoken assumption is that male screeners would not get off on groping male passengers etc. Of course, know that we (as a society) recognise that not all people are attracted to the opposite sex, the policy is totally ridiculous and frankly offensive (honestly, I'm not trying to be inflammatory).
I don't think this is a case of heteronormative social convention. We are talking about very intimate contact with an area of the body for which contact is NEVER made available to others, except in connection with sex and medical treatment. As with the previous poster, I am more comfortable with a female doctor than a male when it comes to this kind of examination. A gay male may or may not have a different preference. A straight male may or may not have a different preference. MY preference is that I don't want to be groped by someone of my gender. Of course, I'd prefer not to be groped at all, but if someone's going to do it, I'd rather it be a woman. I think personal preference should be honored without regard or assumption as to the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person being groped.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 6:37 pm   #18
  
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I don't think this is a case of heteronormative social convention. We are talking about very intimate contact with an area of the body for which contact is NEVER made available to others, except in connection with sex and medical treatment. As with the previous poster, I am more comfortable with a female doctor than a male when it comes to this kind of examination. A gay male may or may not have a different preference. A straight male may or may not have a different preference. MY preference is that I don't want to be groped by someone of my gender. Of course, I'd prefer not to be groped at all, but if someone's going to do it, I'd rather it be a woman. I think personal preference should be honored without regard or assumption as to the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person being groped.
Sure. But that's not the system, and the system of same-sex screener is so totally accepted that it is barely commented on.

The reason it's heteronormative is because it assumes all people are straight, straight people won't be aroused or uncomfortable with people of the same gender, and therefore screening should proceed with same-sex screeners.

The solution is to allow the preference of the screened to determine the gender of the screener, AND to restrict groping to when it is necessary only (ie NOT when boarding planes).
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Old Aug 31, 10, 6:39 pm   #19
  
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Originally Posted by doober View Post
Are you married? Do you want to stay married? If so, I'd advise not asking for a person of the opposite sex to do your pat down.
And comments like this reveal some of the underlying assumptions that inform the policy.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 6:48 pm   #20
  
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Originally Posted by WillR View Post
I actually think there is not much justification for gender segregated toilet facilites; given that cubicles have closing doors, why should anyone care? The urinal section could have a closing door, and no-one can see anyone elses junk more than currently..
Using the bathroom analogy, male cleaners are commonplace in female public bathrooms in Germany and France. (Why pay two people to do the job when one can do it?) It's common for me to enter the bathroom and have a man greet me. I don't have an issue with it.

But the reaction to males in the female bathroom (even those underage) causes quite the uproar on a leisure travel site I used to read. I believe that cultural conventions vary, as do preferences between males and females.

I am not expressing myself well, but what I am trying to point out is that what doesn't bother me as a female may well bother another female from a different background.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 6:55 pm   #21
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Originally Posted by TSABoston57 View Post
If the passenger is male, but presents themselves as a female, that passenger would then be patted down by a female TSO. Same would go for a female passenger presenting themselves as a male who would then be patted down by a male TSO. That is, at the very least, our standard operating procedure. This very rarely happens, at least in my own experience. I would assume, that if a passenger who is in fact male, but presents themselves as a female, requested to be patted down by a male TSO, that would be accommodated. But again, such experiences are rarely seen, from what I've experienced. But of course, I can't speak for other airports. (I work out of BOS).

Also, keep in mind. The same-sex screening is not mandatory, there have been plenty of cases of opposite-sex screening at smaller airports, that do not have the available TSOs of the desired gender.

I can't really speak for why exactly same-sex screening is encouraged, but I would assume it would have something to do with comfort zones and deterrence of say, sexual harassment. I mean, to be quite frank, would many female passengers be comfortable being patted down by a male that they do not know? Or vice versa.
Well my comfort zone will be compromised if a TSA screener grasps my genitals after I Opt Out of WBI Porno Viewer Screening and in my opinion that will constitute sexual assault.

What will be your defense if you are the screener?

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Originally Posted by RonDace View Post
I just discussed this with my wife. Mrs. Dace said I could ask for a female TSO to pat me down as long as she could watch.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; Sep 1, 10 at 6:46 pm Reason: merge consecutive posts
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Old Aug 31, 10, 6:59 pm   #22
  
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Originally Posted by RonDace View Post
I just discussed this with my wife. Mrs. Dace said I could ask for a female TSO to pat me down as long as she could watch.
You are my hero.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:14 pm   #23
  
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Opposite gender screening isn't a choice you get to make.

TSA has quite rigid rules regarding the very rare cases when opposite gender pat downs are allowed. When an emergency happens at a spoke airport, the FSD must notify area directors and take action to alleviate the problem.

Cross gender screening creates all sorts of problems. Based on this thread, I am certain that some individuals are uncomfortable with same gender screening. However my four years as manager tells me that cross gender screening would be very disruptive.

Male passengers already feel as if they have right to harass female screeners. Many make stupid comments that have no place in the workplace. Even without cross-gendered screening, some make lude requests to be screened by screeners they find attractive. These types of comments would increase, and I am sure some idiot would try to grab a female screener.

Also female screeners have no desire to screen male passengers. Some might do it, but the vast majority would find it distasteful. One of my primary problems is finding enough female screeners to screen females. Adding to the workload of female screeners will not solve that problem.

In my opinion cross gendered screening would add a sexual dynamic to the checkpoint. Some would feel pressured to accept being screened by someone of the opposite gender. Some would agree to the pat down by someone of the opposite gender not knowing what it entailed and then regret it after the fact. Some screeners would act like morons. Many passengers would act like morons.

The issue of homosexual screeners of both genders is not culturally relevant. I supervise many gay officers, none of them have ever made their sexuality an issue. Many heterosexual officers have, and gotten in trouble for doing so.

This request is something the TSA will not accommodate.


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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:21 pm   #24
  
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Originally Posted by brandinius2 View Post
I'm hetero, and if I get my junk felt up at the physician's office, I'd rather it be by a female doctor. Not sexual at all, just a comfort level.
+1 on the comfort level. Ladies have smaller fingers.

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Originally Posted by WillR View Post
The reason it's heteronormative is because it assumes all people are straight, straight people won't be aroused or uncomfortable with people of the same gender, and therefore screening should proceed with same-sex screeners.
I know assumptions are bad, but. . .assuming both screeners and pax have the normal di-ver-si-tay of the entire society, and assuming 10% of the population is gay, the current set up (not considering transgenders) says 10% of the screeners and pax will enjoy the contact, and 90% will not. I'm sure the TSA's real motivation is SSI.

Not to get into Omniland, but I disagree with your "won't be uncomfortable with people of the same gender" position. Current events show the US has a large population of small minded "conservative" men who are extremely homophobic. (At least in public and on the record)
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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:21 pm   #25
  
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As a gay male I am uncomfortable having a hetrosexual male touch me. So if I question this would I be able to get a female to do the rubdown?
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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:22 pm   #26
  
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Originally Posted by TSABoston57 View Post
I mean, to be quite frank, would many female passengers be comfortable being patted down by a male that they do not know? Or vice versa.
If by being "patted down" you mean a full contact groping of my nether regions, then it doesn't matter what gender you are. If you're not my gynecologist or my significant other, you have absolutely no business putting your hands there.

Although I don't like it by any stretch of the imagination - I don't have a problem with TSA patting down my arms, legs, back or butt. Hell, I'll even offer up "the girls" to be honked, without batting an eye. But I draw the line at a stranger, male or female, who tries to fondle my hoohah.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:24 pm   #27
  
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Originally Posted by castrobenes View Post
One of my primary problems is finding enough female screeners to screen females. Adding to the workload of female screeners will not solve that problem.
Serious question for you: As you yourself acknowledge, and as I have often experienced, the wait for a female screener is not comparable to the wait for a male screener.

With WBI increasing overall wait times, and with opt outs requiring pat downs, I can foresee that the need for screenings will increase (both male and female) Has your agency done anything to address the inequality of wait times for females, which was already an issue pre-WBI?
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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:27 pm   #28
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It's likely for legal liability reasons. There's a reason why people (especially women) feel more comfortable going to a doctor of the same sex. There's a reason why bathrooms are segregated by sex in this country as well.

I certainly understand your point and it's nice to see people not hung up on gender, but it's rather impossible to tell someone's sexual orientation and indeed some people are attracted to both sexes.

Having someone patted down by someone of the same sex greatly reduces the likely hood of any sort of issue caused by a complaint by the TSA officer or the person being search.

In terms of people's comments on sexual arousal, I was patted down last week. It's not invasive and unless the TSA starts hiring supermodels, there's not much stimulation to it.

In terms of the gender neutrality, I think they do this in Europe as well from what I recall. They're not nearly as crazy and repressed about sex as people are in the United States.

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If TSA doesn't respect its own rules or the Constitution, do you really think it would respect gender identity?
If the rules violated the constitution then someone would sue and the rather conservative court would overturn the rules. Nobody has been able to prove that anything you're talking about is against the constitution. You sort of forgot to mention that in your argument so I thought I'd help out.

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Does the TSA respect my right to determine my own gender identity?
They likely do. Why don't you ask next time.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:30 pm   #29
  
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Originally Posted by castrobenes View Post
In my opinion cross gendered screening would add a sexual dynamic to the checkpoint. Some would feel pressured to accept being screened by someone of the opposite gender. Some would agree to the pat down by someone of the opposite gender not knowing what it entailed and then regret it after the fact. Some screeners would act like morons. Many passengers would act like morons.
If you're not my doctor but your hands are in my crotch, it's already sexual. The fact that it's completely unwelcome is what makes it assault and battery. There is absolutely no reason for any TSO's hands to be anywhere near my crotch. You have absolutely no reasonable suspicion that I have committed any crime, let alone probable cause, simply because I have a boarding pass in my hand.

Having a boarding pass is a common, every day, legal activity that millions of people engage in every year. That would be like asserting that having a driver's license creates reasonable suspicion that one is an axe murderer.
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Old Aug 31, 10, 7:39 pm   #30
  
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Originally Posted by Flaflyer View Post
I know assumptions are bad, but. . .assuming both screeners and pax have the normal di-ver-si-tay of the entire society, and assuming 10% of the population is gay, the current set up (not considering transgenders) says 10% of the screeners and pax will enjoy the contact, and 90% will not. I'm sure the TSA's real motivation is SSI.
I'm sure that has figured in their thinking, you're right. Doesn't help you feel any better if you're gay, and/or the screener is gay, and there is an uncomfortable sexual overtone (as alluded to by castrobenes).

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Originally Posted by Flaflyer View Post
Not to get into Omniland, but I disagree with your "won't be uncomfortable with people of the same gender" position. Current events show the US has a large population of small minded "conservative" men who are extremely homophobic. (At least in public and on the record)
Just to be clear, that's not my position; that's how I perceive the set of unspoken assumptions that lead to same-sex screening.

I firmly believe any kind of body contact should be consensual whenever possible.

I also believe that professionally performed searches should:
a) be performed with thick protective gloves (to protect against needles etc, which is a frightening thought for those of us who have to go through the pockets of drug users on a regular basis), and
b) be performed by accountable persons who will face substantial penalties if they abuse their position (for example, doctors can lose their license for inappropriate genital exams).

Furthermore, and I recognise this *may* superficially seem contradictary to my previous statement, I believe that gender of the screener should be irrelevant. This is partly because I object to gender discrimination, but also because frisking should be performed professionally and without any sexual overtones. Enforcing same-sex screening makes gender extremely relevant, and my objection to it is that it institutionalises the expectation that there is a sexual element to the screening.
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