I say ‘body searched’ because I know there are various levels (strip search being the most invasive) which some countries no doubt conduct regardless of the gender and sometimes even choice of the individual.
I read on the aviation forum, Flyertalk that it is mandatory to have the performed by the same sex as not doing so can result in numerous and tiring lawsuits.
I’m male. When I flew out of Panama just before Christmas I was patted down by a female security person after going through the security gate. I’m sure I’ve had similar pat downs in the past. I can’t recall if I’ve ever had a pat down from a female TSA officer in the US.
In the US, it has to be same-gender. It’s also the one country where I’ve had the person patting me down turn it into an assgrab, proving that a) pigs come in all genders and b) being patted down by someone of your same apparent sex doesn’t protect against assault; profesionalism does.
In many other countries, you can ask for a same-sex/gender checker (different countries phrase it differently) but whether one has to be made available or not varies by country. In Spain having one readily available is not a requirement (after all, one could make the case that such a requirement would constitute discrimination by reason of sex for the agents - ohhai, that’s unconstitutional); in Denmark I don’t know if it’s a requirement or company policy, but the same signs advising people that a same-sex checker could be requested indicated that doing so could cause delays.
I (male) went through security in several airports in China. In every one, I got a pat-down, because, large foreign man, and every pat-down was performed by a female. They were swift but thorough, as in, feeling-your-testicles-lifted-level thorough. I was constantly surprised at this.
My wife, who was carrying a baby and enough baby-luggage to hide an M-16, was waved on through.