I've got a friend who is a Canadian citizen who is going to be flying from Toronto Pearson to JFK in NY. After googling and only finding TSA American info I thought here would be a great place to ask.

So my friend is FTM but not officially so I highly doubt she can get a doctors' note. But she wears a penile prosthesis all the time and is not comfortable taking the prosthesis off before security as it's a huge process taking it off. So what can she do to pass security without a hassle? Any protocols in place at Pearson?

And, what security stuff do they check when departing from Pearson? For instance, is there body scanning things at Pearson?

Edit: No metal in the penile prosthetics. It's all silicone apparently. I'm thinking if the security see a bulge they might like "terrorist moving under a stole passport"....

  • is the id in the new or old name and gender? And does your friend have Nexus? Is there time to get it? I ask because Nexus holders don't go through the nude o scopes. Dec 19, 2015 at 20:46
  • @KateGregory as I understand it anyone can ask not to be scanned by the mm scanners. Do they even have them in Canada?
    – phoog
    Dec 19, 2015 at 22:25
  • Yes they have them and you can opt out but they generally make that an unpleasant experience. Assuming it would not set off the metal detector, not having to do the scanner would be best Dec 20, 2015 at 0:11
  • Not official so ID is old. Not known by any doctors as FTM.
    – verve
    Dec 20, 2015 at 0:52
  • Is there body scanners at Pearson?
    – verve
    Dec 20, 2015 at 0:52

2 Answers 2


Security screening at Toronto Pearson is conducted by CATSA. It occurs immediately after US preclearance and baggage drop.

CATSA recommends people with prostheses containing metal to inform a security screener and receive an alternate search, but if he has a prosthesis without metal he can just walk through the metal detector.

  • If you need assistance, please inform the screening officer when you arrive at the checkpoint.
  • If your prosthesis or implant does not contain metal, you can use the walk-through metal detector.
  • Tell the screening officer if your prosthesis or implant contains metal. He or she will then suggest you bypass the walk-through metal detector and recommend alternate screening options, such as:
    • A hand-held metal detector;
    • A full body scanner;
    • A physical search;
    • Explosive trace detection; and/or
    • A visual inspection.
  • The screening officer may also wish to visually inspect your prosthesis, if possible.
  • Note that small gas cylinders for mechanical limbs are permitted in both carry-on and checked baggage.

Finally, a personal note: It's not airport security's job to care about the personal affairs of travelers. Their only interest in someone's prosthesis is going to be in whether it could somehow be dangerous. So while it can be embarrassing, it's generally not their intention to be embarrassing.

Further, I am told by another FTM that I know who has travelled internationally that they are perfectly fine to wear right through, and they won't ask you to remove it.

  • 2
    And since you've said your friend is FTM I've referred to him with male pronouns... Dec 19, 2015 at 23:24

Pearson has some body scanners, but in most cases you will go through an old-fashioned metal-detector - especially in the US and domestic areas.

If your friend's prosthetic triggers the metal detectors (or instead of them if you ask) you can opt to get a search in a private area with a security guard of your own gender.

  • 1
    Given some of the TSA horror stories I've heard, it is not hard to imagine the officers insisting that the subject's "own gender" is male if she prefers to be searched by a woman, and vice versa.
    – phoog
    Dec 19, 2015 at 22:29

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