Should primary security checking be carried out on a non gender basis?

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  • Swissdiver

    Should an obviously gay security officer (male) be allowed to pat down a male passenger?

    After all, women can’t (as male cannot search women).

    And this gender segregation is there for a purpose: having a disinterested officer focusing on the security only.

    What are the rules if any?


    How can you imagine the gender “segregation” is for having “disinterested” officer focusing on security only ???

    Should it be the case, I can’t imagine the number of professions which should introduce gender segregation (including captain and first officer !!!)


    How is someone ‘obviously’ gay? I’m gay myself and constantly amazed at guys I think are gay in fact being straight. I offended one of my very effeminate male cabin crew colleagues the other week by asking whether him and his boyfriend adopted or used a surrogate to have the kid he was discussing. The reply was ‘no…my wife gave bith naturally’. On the flipside guys that I thought would be married (to a woman) with two kids end up being gay. A first officer friend of mine who is gay but not the ‘obvious’ type makes me laugh when he tells the tales of conversations he has in the cockpit with Captains assuming he is straight. Talking about the ‘poofs in the cabin’ until my mate turns around and says ‘actually you’re sat next to one of these ‘poofs”. Cue Captain wishing he could open the door and step out at 40k feet. In 2018 it’s impossible to tell. Or maybe i’ve just got terrible Gaydar.

    And in reality is there a different between being patted down by someone ‘obviously’ gay versus someone gay but not in the obvious sense?

    6 users thanked author for this post.


    I have no idea how you think you know anyone is “obviously gay” but if you can then why should your abilities be limited only to men and not women?
    What gender are gay men in you strange world? Male I presume, just as lesbians are female? What distinguishes a “disinterested” officer from an “interested” one? What exactly is it that you want to question? Some sort of problem being searched by “an obliviously gay” man? Either you assume he is not able to properly carry out his job or that he will be so attracted to you or other passengers he will be doing his job badly because he is distracted? Both are utter rubbish and display a remarkable ignorance.
    What rules would you like in the event that a gay man intended to search a male passenger because there is a clear inference in your question that he should not carry out the search.


    I actually take the opposite view and suggest that there should be no separation between who searches who, male, female, gay, lesbian or trans, for primary searches. In my mind this will make sure everyone is more attentive to which parts of the body are touched and people may become more and more aware of the seemingly legalised inappropriate touching.

    The technology must soon be with us that enables full body scans without the need of people needing to intimately touch passengers.

    Secondary searches are different and if there is a requirement for clothes to be removed, perhaps the passenger should be given the choice whether they require a same sex search operative…

    2 users thanked author for this post.


    Agree, in some countries I’ve been ‘searched’ by women and ‘though perhaps not too efficient (for which electronic equipment is used) it was ok!
    The worst search was by a male at LHR probably not gay (how would I know?) who was violent and aggressive – apparently bullying!
    Its a personality matter, if polite and considerate, sexuality is irrelevant?

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    What is at stake is a sense of comfort or discomfort, so by essence it is somewhat irrational. And while I don’t care about the sexual life of others, there are very obvious cases, may-be more male than female, that can create discomfort when it comes to touch your intimate parts.
    And yes, technology makes the job better and better.


    I think that it’s like any profession where we come into close contact with a person, Doctor, dentist, nurse, physiotherapist etc, they may all have to get into what some people may consider their personal space, or perform personal procedure. Anyone’s sexuality, culture and every other difference to me is fine, as I respect the person as along as they have mutual respect of me and if a professional person that they are professional and competent.

    I think if someone is worried by ‘obviously…’, would they be distressed if they later found out that the search was undertaken by a ‘non obviously…’, especially if they thought it had been intrusive. Based on the comments above from rferguson above, I doubt if it’s ‘obvious’ 100% of the time. I’m sorry but it does sound more of a persons own discrimination of others.

    Tom Otley

    Someone has reported this for inappropriate content.

    It seems that the majority disagree with the OP, but then, you’ve also answered his question from your points of view, so that’s discussion.

    No one has insulted anyone else as far as I can see.

    Should it be removed?

    7 users thanked author for this post.


    I would prefer not to have any physical contact or proximity with anyone during the airport processes, and I would have thought that technology would make this feasible.

    Given that this is not the case, I don’t care who does the checking as long as they don’t smell unpleasant, or have a bullying overbearing attitude. That said, I would say that 99% of the time, at most of the airports I use regularly, I have had no cause for complaint.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Morning Tom

    firstly to answer your question, absolutely not !!
    Secondly , I apologise for clicking the report button, it was an attempt to contact you to understand why you asked what at the time seemed a rhetorical question.

    back on topic, It becomes a more relevant question when you refocus the question of respecting ALL people’s rights. And then transfer those rights to cultural and religious beliefs.

    How would airport management react if someone refused to be patted down by an “obviously gay” operative because it violated their deeply held religious belief?

    Although as rferguson pointed out , how can you tell. I know a member of the Tartan Army who used to act like a stereotypical jock. Came out the proverbial closet , and within 24 hours out Graysoned Larry Grayson.
    And on the other hand , an ex-colleague made me exclaim ..” My god, it’s the first case I know of jumping into the closest!!” on hearing the news of his girlfriend’s pregnancy !!


    I think the issue is more about the professionalism of the “pat down staff”. Provide a professional team of security personnel, who take their job seriously, rather than gum chewing, chatty chatty personel continually checking their phones, perhaps the system would work better.

    As an example, how many travellers have an issue seeing a female or make doctor for an examination, procedure or consultation.. do patients check sexual orientation/gender of their Dr…? I doubt it…

    To me its all about the professionalism of the person I am dealing with and I have come across very few airport security staff (in the UK) who I would consider professional in terms of how they carry out checks.

    1 user thanked author for this post.


    Canucklad – if someone objects to being patted down by a gay person then one response is “the way out is back there.” Reminds me of a time on a Dan Air flight many years when after the captain introduced herself to the passengers, a passenger exclaimed they wouldn’t have booked the flight had they known the pilot was female. A Steward simply told the passenger, the aircraft doors would be open for another 10 minutes if he wanted to get off.

    But of course this does raise the question why we still have gender segregation for pat downs especially in this day and age of fluid gender identities? I agree with others that technology will make this question mostly redundant but it won’t completely eliminate it.


    So does it work the other way around?

    Should a straight security guard have concerns about having to pat down a gay passenger?

    My own perspective on this is simple; live and let live.


    Hi Bath_VIP
    Please don’t interpret my comments as being anti-gay .

    I consider myself as a practicing liberal, live and let live as long as you’re not causing harm (mental & physical) to others is pretty much my mantra.

    Alas, there is a conundrum to all this…..l
    I believe political dogma is more circular than linear. At one point there is a convergence of Extreme Left and Extreme Right views!
    Similarly , I’d pose the question, as a western liberal , with an occidental outlook on life, when do I start to demonstrate intolerance to others, Just because they hold, what I consider to be viewpoints best left in the 19th century doesn’t mean I have to impose my values on them !!

    if you accept the premise that people have the right to be practice their religious beliefs (sometimes repugnant), then I’m afraid you have to accept all the bad baggage that comes along with them !!

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