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Sexual Assault of Transgender Woman at Airport

Stressed Woman at Airport

It’s easy to forget when reading about the hideous onslaught daily of spite and indignity directed towards transgender women that there isn’t necessarily “more” today. It’s just that it’s finally getting reported instead of brushed under the rug.

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Nonetheless, my blood boils when I read about trans women being hurt or harassed wherever they go, in whatever they do—in banks, grocery shops, the workplace, bars, hotels, and airports.

Lilith Carroll was recently flying from London to Dublin, where she’s from. She set off the metal detector, and was then subject to rude behavior, misgendering, and being partially strip searched.

On Twitter, Lilith reported, “I had a terribly traumatic experience going through security before my flight from Luton to Dublin. Tripped the machine so forced to do the body scan. A guy then searches me and touched my breasts in the public area.”

While security most certainly has the right and responsibility to question and search the luggage and bodies of anyone, specifically or at random, for any reason, this cannot be done in a humiliating fashion. If security was genuinely concerned that someone might be hiding something in her bra—which is of course a great place for women to tuck things—the passenger should be treated with dignity and respect and be dealt with by a female security personnel.

The security personnel continually referred to Lilith as “sir” even though she corrected them and showed her passport and identification.

The men demanded she remove her bra and they touched her breasts. This is the definition of sexual assault, and any woman who endures this has the right to be vindicated for an actual crime against her.

Lilith told The Sun that she was so shaken by the humiliating assault that she is seeking therapy to cope. “I am still crying and shaking after the incident. I don’t want to be seen. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want anyone to look at me or leave my room . . . I will now look at future flights through the UK with dread.”

The London Luton Airport apologized publicly, stating, “We were extremely sorry to hear that Ms Carroll experienced distress as she passed through mandatory security checks. We have apologized to her directly and immediately started an internal investigation. In future, we will be working more closely with the local LGBT community to enhance our training for all security staff.”

While I concede that well meaning people or uninformed people can inadvertently misgender someone or misunderstand a transgender person’s situation, and that sometimes we are all subjected to offense in our daily lives, this is an outrageous breach of bodily integrity and a sexual assault.

If security had been concerned that someone was concealing something in her bra, they would have called for a female personnel to question and search her. This was vicious, spiteful sexual harassment and those responsible should be fired and charged as such.

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