Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

TSA's Mistreatment of Trans Employee Leads to Sensitivity Training

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | August 07, 2011 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Ashley Yang, Kristina Wertz, Transgender Law Center, Transportation Security Administration, TSA

yang2-217x300.jpgAshley Yang, a transgender woman and former Transportation Safety Administration security checkpoint screener, recently settled her lawsuit after she was ordered to dress like a man, to use the men's restroom, and to pat down male passengers. She was later fired by the TSA, allegedly for using the women's bathroom. As part of the settlement of her lawsuit, LAX managers began receiving sensitivity training.

According to the Transgender Law Center, which handled Ms. Yang's case, a month after hiring Ashley Yang, TSA managers informed her that she would be required to start working as a male and that failure to do so could result in disciplinary actions. They required this of Ms. Yang, despite the fact that she informed TSA that she is a transgender woman and after they hired her as a woman.

To keep her job Ms. Yang bought a short "male wig" to hide her long hair, complied with TSA's male dress code, and pretended to be a man at work. Despite her efforts, passengers continued to recognize her as a woman and subjected to her to sexual harassment. Ms. Yang was fired almost two years after being hired and just five days before the end of the standard TSA probationary period.

The Associated Press reported that sensitivity training of LAX managers has begun. The settlement required mandatory sensitivity training by 100 LAX airport managers who work with about 2500 security checkpoint personnel.

Kristina Wertz, an attorney affiliated with the Transgender Law Center, said, "Ashley lives her life as a woman. Her co-workers recognized her as a woman. Passengers recognized her as a woman. But her employer didn't." Ms. Yang also reportedly received a large monetary award.

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Didn't the Obama administration add gender identity to federal employment prior to the date of this woman's firing?

Why was TSA management not aware of this change?

Why was she not returned to her position and treated under some type of guidelines set out from the Obama administration on gender identity employment?

Why is sensitivity training ordered if gender identity has been added to federal job protection? Is there not a standard policy to follow?

Is the administration's policy on gender identity being applied or not?