Transgender people are completely banned from boarding airplanes in Canada

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Transgender people are completely banned from boarding airplanes in Canada

Er, what?

The shit hit the fan in the trans blogosphere last night, when it came to light that there is a disturbing new section in the Identity Screening Regulations used in airports throughout Canada. Simply put, Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada.

The offending section of the regulations reads:

5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;

Although this obviously discriminatory smear of regulation did not come to significant public attention until very recently, it apparently came into effect on July 27th, 2011.

It is important to note that these regulations are not actually a piece of legislation, which would have had to pass through readings and votes in the House and Senate (which is probably why it went unnoticed until now). Rather, the Identity Screening Regulations are a set of rules implemented unilaterally by the Ministry of Transportation, as part of Canada’s so-called Passenger Protect, which is essentially the Canadian Federal Government’s equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list.

Minister of Transportation Denis Lebel is, of course, a federal Conservative MP appointed to the cabinet position by Stephen Harper.

Issues Pages: 
Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Just saw this on Justin's Trudeau's Facebook page.

Justin Trudeau:
This government keeps pushing its neo-conservative agenda of intolerance and hopes we don't notice. This is just wrong.

Red Tory Tea Girl

I saw the Toronto Star comments page... I am not encouraged.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

If Liberal MP Justin Trudeau is aware of this, presumably someone in the Official Opposition is, as well - and will raise this in Question Period. Right?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Canada Identity Screening Regulations: Transgendered Community Effectively Banned From Flying

OTTAWA — A number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights advocates are raising concerns about Canadian air travel regulations that appears to exclude transgender passengers from flying. “It looks like a very serious violation of people’s rights,” the NDP’s Randall Garrison, the party’s critic for LGBTT issues, told The Huffington Post Tuesday.


to me the catch is that to be considered a person of a certain gender you have to live that way for two years or something.  Well, how can you really do that if some of your official papers (which are going to be used as evidence you've been that gender) like passports are useless during that time.  So aside from all the other crap you have to go through, you have to put your life on hold for a few years too?  

This also might relate to israelis wanting "jerusalem" as the capital of israel on their passports/documents.  To them it is the capital, but really it's not.  What they "feel" isn't taken into consideration in most places.  So you might say if you've had the operation then of course you are the other gender but if not and you still have the equipment of the birth gender then just put that on the passport because it's going to cause you less problems.


Red Tory Tea Girl

First of all, milo204, assigned sex and actual sex are not the same thing. I'm a trans woman. That means I was born female, assigned male, and spent years figuring out the difference. And civil rights should never, never, be requisite on one getting surgery.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

This was raised in QP yesterday and the Con MP that answered just dismissed it out of hand as normal security screening. No apology, no promise to rescind the regulation. Will probably take a letter writing campaign, petitions, and daily embarrassing the Cons in the H of C to get this changed.

Maysie Maysie's picture

Conservative MPs laugh at concerns that trans people face flight ban.

NDP MPs Randall Garrison, Dany Morin and transportation critic Olivia Chow have drafted a motion to rescind the recently added section in the Identity Screening Regulations, which states that an air carrier "shall not transport a passenger if the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents." The motion will be on the Transport Committee agenda Feb 7, Chow says.

Chow says the changes to the regulations do not increase national security and they are not international standard. Instead, she says, the new rules further inconvenience trans people trying to fly out of Canada.

During question period, Transport Minister Denis Lebel rejected concerns from the NDP, saying his priority is "safety."

"The minister has failed to recognize that this provision clearly discriminates against transgender Canadians, which constitutes a violation of their fundamental mobility rights under the Charter," Chow says.

Chow says Lebel and other Conservative MPs were openly "snickering" and disrespectfully mocking Garrison, Morin and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau as they pressed the government for answers.

"The response was outrageous," Chow says. "It's totally ridiculous. If you listen to the audio, you can hear [Conservative MPs] snickering in the background."

P.S. Xtra has a bad reputation regarding trans folks.


I remember reading somewhere, I'm sad I can't remember where, the observation that the very existence of M and F categories on identification documents comes from a deep-seated place of transphobia. What possible justification could there be for the M or F marking if it isn't to deter those who would try to pass as other than the gender they were assigned at birth? It presumes the existence of a cross-dressing menace. It can't have anything to do with security or identifiability; if the person in the picture does or doesn't look like you, what does the M or F matter?

Red Tory Tea Girl

Well, there's also binarism... honestly, cis society has never known quite what to do with us, (though some're really good at romanticizing the third-gendering of ancient civilizations. Hint: Telling trans women that they are not women but something else? Very fucking cissexist, and I don't care how much spirituality, Christianist or otherwise, gets wrapped up in the argument.