Kristen Beck was recently held back by airport security at Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. She was targeted because she was born Christopher Beck. Her transition to living as a transgender woman was not an easy one, and instances like this, only make it that much harder.
The irony is that Kristen, a former Navy SEAL, was on her way to Kansas City to give a speech to federal employees about gender identity and tolerance. At the airport, Beck was flagged for secondary screening after going through the initial body scanner. Then the TSA agents started whispering about her and called in their supervisor.
“I’m a female,” she told them. “It’s no big deal.”
But the supervisor told the male agent to pat her down in front of everyone else as they held up the line.
Beck protested: “This is wrong. I’m a female, it says female on my Maryland driver’s license. This is the real me.”
The supervisor responded by saying: “Then somebody pat him down.” And a female agent stepped forward to proceed with the pat down.
After the incident, a couple of TSA employees came up to her to apologize for their mistaken and grossly insensitive colleagues.
Kristen later wrote about the humiliation on Facebook:
“I’m sad, for TSA, our country, our future … Why is this so difficult?”
She said she was at least glad this happened to her, someone who has been trans for a long time now and had a strong military background. If this was going to happen to someone, it’s better that it is her than someone who has just started transitioning and is not yet as confident and comfortable.
Beck isn’t angry with TSA as a whole though. She says: “The TSA does a great job 99% of the time. This is a 1% error. They have a tough job but they need to continue training and continue to do better.”
Kristen recently tweeted that a TSA officer contacted her and expressed a desire to launch an investigation into the incident.