Anna Turaeva, a world-famous female powerlifter has spoken of her horror at being told she was banned from boarding a plane until she could prove her gender as a woman.
The female powerlifter was subjected to intimate questions in front of other passengers on a scheduled flight, as security staff believed she was a man.
The 42-year-old sportswoman, who has a string of records and medals representing her country, told how she was initially barred from flying with Russian airline Utair from St Petersburg to her home city Krasnodar via Moscow.
“At the checkpoint, they refused to let me pass through saying that it was written in my passport that I am a woman.”
“It was humiliating. I was reprimanded like a child in front of people in the queue.”
“[I was asked] intimate questions. [They were] interested in who I am in my life – and in bed”, she said.
Anna, however, explained how she kept her cool and did not allow any slightest rudeness.
“The whole queue was watching this anarchy, and I felt as helpless as possible in this situation.”
“I was trying to prove that I am indeed a woman,” she added.
Anna, who came out as a lesbian years ago said she quietly tried to explain to the airline representative that they were wrong to ask her to prove she was a woman.
“I did everything that depends on me for them to believe in my nature,” she said, not explaining how the matter was finally resolved.
“Then a miracle happened, I was allowed to board the plane.”
But she later hit out at the airline telling them:
“I have worked all my youth, with my blood and sweat for my country, not to be treated this way.”
Utair rapidly said they were sorry, telling her:
“We apologize for the negative emotions you experienced. Such service is unacceptable.”
“We will definitely check the actions of the airport employees who worked on your flight, and we will sort out the situation.”
Anna now a powerlifting coach was a six times world champion in the bench press and holds multiple trophies for powerlifting.