Friday, November 12, 2010

Does the TSA discriminate against gay people?

The Washington Post reports that a growing number of the public are becoming disgusted by government agents groping and fondling them in the name of airport security. In addition the government has imposed x-ray machines that basically look through your clothes and take very realistic, nude images of your body and transmits them to government agents in another room.

Anyone concerned about having federal agents take nude photos of them can "opt out" and instead go through enhanced pat down security. The Post says this involves "the touching of breasts and genitals" and "invasive searches designed to find weapons." Please note that if anyone else walked up to you and fondled your genitals, without your consent, they would be put on the sex offender list after serving time in jail. So, if you don't consent to the pornoray machine you will be punished with state-mandated fondling.

The Post says: "The searches, performed by TSA security officers of the same sex as the passenger, entail a sliding hand motion on parts of the body where a lighter touch was used before..." The TSA blog "assures" people that these evasive "pat-downs" "are conducted by same gender officers."

It is obvious that they use same gender officers to reassure the public that the TSA official isn't merely getting off on fondling passengers under the authority of law. But what does this mean for gay people, both as victims of the fondling, and as government workers?

Certainly this policy, in order to actually accomplish its goal, would mean that the TSA would need to officially discriminate against hiring gay people. If it doesn't then assurances to the public about "same gender" agents doing the fondling is just a sham.

The TSA assures the public that same-sex agents will do the fondling, so we won't feel that the agent is just getting off by grabbing our genitals. Fair enough, I understand that. But what about gay agents? Wouldn't they actually get their jollies by touching the genitals of same-sex passengers? So, if gay agents could get their jollies then the policy only allows gay people to get sexual thrills from fondling passengers, while denying the same jollies to straight officers. That really wouldn't assure anyone

Does the TSA have gay agents or not? If they do then the same-sex search policy is a sham. If the policy isn't a sham, then they must discriminate against gay employees. Which is it?

That is my question to the TSA. Does the TSA allow gay agents to fondle the genitals of same-sex passengers or do they restrict these jobs to only confirmed heterosexuals? Either answer has to be a disaster. It will be interesting to see if they prefer being branded as possible pervs or confirmed bigots. (Note that I am not saying that gay agents would be more likely to be pervs than heterosexual agents, just that the TSA policy doesn't make sense because it can't take the gay issue into account.)

And, what about the passengers themselves? The same-sex agent policy is meant to make passengers feel more comfortable. Straight women don't want to think the male agent fondling their breasts is getting off on it. But would most women feel better about lesbians doing it? And how would lesbians feel about straight women fondling them?

Does having a male agent, even if he is straight, fondle the genitals of gay passengers amount to the same thing as having a woman fondle a man's genitals?

Of course, in a sane society government agents, regardless of their gender, wouldn't be allowed to randomly fondle the genitals of the public. This dilemma exists because of the "security theater" tactics of the TSA. The only solution to the dilemma is rampant discrimination, a "don't ask, don't tell" policy for the TSA, but that isn't acceptable either.

One solution might be to allow passengers to claim that they are gay and demand opposite gender agents for the mandated fondling. But then how would the TSA know that the passenger isn't just a straight man wanting a woman to fondle him? So, I guess that wouldn't work either. And they would still have to figure out what to do with bisexual agents. Well, there is another answer—end the intrusive fondling of people, but that would defeat the whole security theater charade.

I think we should demand that the TSA tell us how they are addressing this dilemma.

Are the assurances about same-gender agents a sham? If not a sham, that would mean the TSA actively weeds gay people out. Which is it? I think I know what the answer is. They are not discriminating against gay people, at least I hope they aren't. But the assurances they give about "same gender agents" is just another government lie. It's as much a PR scam as the searches themselves.
This was photographed at a TSA checkpoint in Indianapolis. The image shows a child facing TSA agents with rubber gloves on their hands.  The big lettering says: "My First Cavity Search." Do you want these people fondling your kids?

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