If you've ever felt you were subjected to an excessively invasive examination while going through airport security, you're not alone. People are coming out in droves to share personal accounts of feeling violated by the TSA with the hashtag #TSAVaginaMonologues after CNN political commentator Angela Rye took to Twitter Thursday night to detail a humiliating search she was subjected to while attempting to board a flight from Detroit to New York City. In a series of tweets that she later turned into an op-ed, Rye explained that despite being a CLEAR traveler approved for TSA Precheck and walking through a scanner that did not beep, she was selected for random additional screening. No big deal, right? Wrong. When Rye moved on to the X-ray backscatter machine, her right foot and pelvic region were flagged for further investigation. "You know you aren't patting down my vagina, right? Like that's NOT happening," she told the TSA agent and requested a second scan, assuming the system had simply made a mistake. The agent insisted on the pat down, however, and when Rye protested once again, police officers were called in for backup and she was forced to comply or be escorted off of the premises. In her op-ed, Rye praises "a patient police officer who understood [her] fear about what was happening" and agreed to film the pat down. Unfortunately, that did not stop the situation from becoming extremely uncomfortable. In the video, which Rye subsequently shared on Twitter, a female TSA agent can be seen lifting Rye's dress and aggressively touching her upper thighs as she looks miserably towards the camera. As the video ends, Rye bursts into tears.
Rye chose to share her experience "so we could have a constructive conversation about altering practices." That sentiment has clearly resonated. At press time, her video was retweeted more than 9,000 times. Many have come forward to share their own experiences or simply offer support under the hashtag #TSAVaginaMonologues.
"Of course, we want America to be safe and protected but we should not violate the emotional and physical safety of our nation's citizens at the same time," Rye wrote in her op-ed. "Things don't change unless we ask questions and demand answers. We do not have to do something because it's always been done — that does not make it right." The TSA has not yet released a statement on the situation, but Rye has filed an incident report and sent information to TSA officials.