Well that was easily the most thorough groping I've ever gotten before. I dealt with it, but there's no way they didn't know what was under my clothes. My hopes of avoiding the scanners so that at least the results of the pat-down would be unshareable between unprofessionals were also dashed.
When I asked to opt out of the scanners (everyone at that check point had to go through them), Agent 1 asked for a male assist on his walkie talkie. Agent 2 waited a bit and then said something inaudible to Agent 1. Agent 1 had a brief, inaudible exchange with Agent 3 behind him and repeated his request into the walkie talkie. After some waiting, Agent 1 waved me through the scanner and met me on the other side. He introduced me to Agent 4, who was responsible for the actual groping. The groping was everything I feared, lots of attention on the chest and crotch (in spite of my request that they be sensitive there), almost entirely using the front of his hands, and running his hands under the collar of my T-shirt as well as the waistband of my pants -- he could see my binder, feel that I lack male external genitalia from both the front and back, and could feel that my chest was lumpier than could be excused. This was the first time in years that I wished I'd been packing; I don't even own a soft packer, so it's pretty significant if I feel like I need something in my pants to be male enough. Anyway, I'm glad I asked for it to be done in the open, because the only thing that could have made it more uncomfortable would have been to be alone with Agent 4.
When we were just about finished, Agent 5, the manager, walked over and shook his head and hands and stopped Agent 4. He asked to see my passport and asked me to pronounce my name and then started chastizing Agent 4 for giving me a pat-down, asking who authorized it. Agent 3 was implicated -- she was the one on the other end of the walkie talkie telling Agent 1 that I should get a male assist when he was unsure. Agents 3 and 5 argued and several times checked against my passport, Agent 5 insisting that my name was clearly female and Agent 3 countering that "she presents herself as male so she is male." (This is actually TSA policy, despite what the manager seemed to believe, although I suspect I could have gotten out of it by pretending to be a butch woman.) He repeatedly asked me if I was male or female, and each time I pointed to the sex marker on my passport and said male. I offered to give them my therapist's letter but they didn't seem interested. When they finally stopped arguing, I had to endure a bit more groping and then could leave.
That was actually not the first gender-related incident of the morning. When I checked in, my passport wouldn't scan, so a ticket representative had to verify that the information I entered matched my passport. She didn't notice the sex marker, although I believe it would have been flagged if my passport did not match the information associated with my ticket. She asked me to pronounce my name, I believed because it was difficult to accept that my appearance could be associated with it. I asked if it was necessary, and her tone changed to be more interrogative, and I grew frightened, so I just said it. She said it was very pretty and let me go.
After that first incident, I wasn't feeling too confident gender-wise and really had to pee, so I just went to the women's, although I did hesitate in deciding which door to go into. Luckily the restroom was totally deserted, and I didn't run into anyone. I did use a men's room later on before my flight (stupid coffee!) and didn't interact with anyone there either.
Ugh, so that pat-down, still preferable to the scanners? Perhaps not. I will request a female agent from now on and ask for it to be done in private if I am originally assigned a male agent. It wasn't so much more traumatizing because the agent was male rather than female, but the nature of the pat-down was what I had feared. I'm grateful Agent 4 was professional about it, since he must have known almost immediately that something was up, and he didn't say anything about it to me. At the same time, I don't know if my more thorough pat-down was an expression of the agent's curiosity about my unusual anatomy, or something sexual directed at a female, or if it was just standard procedure for those perceived to be male. I'm inclined to complain to the TSA about it, but there's nowhere quiet in the airport and my phone won't work in Canada, so it will have to wait until I return.