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TSA in Turmoil: "They Don't Look at us Like We're People"

TSOs screen passengers at MCO. Photo: Isaac Babcock
TSOs screen passengers at MCO. Photo: Isaac Babcock

After a TSA agent’s suicide at Orlando International Airport, seventy-nine TSA workers came forward to WMFE to share stories of a toxic work environment. 

Alison Demzon is a transgender woman working at Denver International Airport. In 2017, a new supervisor began misgendering her over and over again. 

"He looks over and goes, 'Hey Al, why don’t you come over, rather than Alison'."

Former Transportation Security Officer Becky also worked at at Denver International Airport. 

We’re not using her last name because she hopes a successful EEOC case will let her be able to return to work for the federal government. 

Becky says taking time off for a medical procedure kicked off a year of harassment and retaliation.

“They don’t look at us like we’re people. They just look at us like we’re ants in a giant hill and they step on us whenever they feel like it.”

She missed months of work without pay and was eventually fired. That sent her down a dark path, and she was hospitalized twice in the next three months for suicide attempts. 

She says she immediately related when she heard about Robert Henry’s suicide in Orlando.

If you or someone you know is depressed or thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or you can text the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Both are available, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
If you’d like to listen to their stories or any story in the “TSA in Turmoil” series, please click on the link.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.