The controversial -œvirtual strip search scanners being trialled at major airports is an invasdion of priovacy, the transgender community claims.
Transgender Victoria’s Sally Goldner also raised concerns non-operative transgender people would be unfairly targeted with the searches which reveal an X-ray image through a person’s clothes, including their genitals.
The security X-ray is being trialled at Melbourne Airport, along with other states, and has created wide controversy over passenger privacy.
The Office of Transport Security has said that -œchalk outline images wouldn’t invade privacy because women would look at scans of women and men would look at scans of men.
Security officers looking at the screen image would not be able to see the person going through the scanner.
-œIf someone hasn’t got a gender normative body, what guidelines are there to say, -˜that’s suspicious’ rather than saying that’s none of my business and the person is not doing anything to do with terrorism? Goldner told Southern Star.
-œI can’t get away from that concern by a long way that trans and intersex people would not be protected.
Goldner said if unnecessary searches took place, transgender people -œwouldn’t have a toe to stand on because they’re not covered by federal equal opportunity law.
-œThe only legal option we’d have is a common law case which then means outing yourself, the cost of a lawyer, the confrontational nature of a court, as distinct from equal opportunity law which at least is confidential, conciliatory and usually zero cost, so it puts us at a disadvantage, she said.
-œTo some extent there have to be concerns about our liberty and our freedom to travel -” we would not be able to travel as freely as someone who is cisgendered.
When Southern Star contacted the Office of Transport Security a spokesman admitted there were no set guidelines to deal with transgendered passengers but denied cause for alarm.
-œSecurity is only interested in prohibited items, not making a judgement or distinction on someone’s sexuality. It’s not part of it, he said.
-œIt’s only explosives, weapons, that sort of thing, that’s all we’re interested in.
The spokesman said the scanner is still in the trial phase and airports are currently taking feedback. He said the department welcomed comment from the transgender community.