It a country that is touted for being progressive for LGBT rights, Canada sure got it wrong this time. According to identity screening regulations for all Canadian airports people must appear to be the same gender as the sex on their passport, which, for a transgendered person, can be virtually impossible if they’ve been living as their chosen gender for some time.
Here’s the full details on this shamefully LGBT disrespectful rule. According to Identity Screening Regulations for Canadian travel…
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;
This Utah mentality inspired rule is quite new, it was just past in July 27 2011. 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.
The only way for Trans people to get around this rule is to have their actual sex changed on their passport, which is…a massive undertaking. First off, the federal government requires proof of reassignment surgery, or a scheduled surgery must be taking place within one year. So all of the non-operative transgender persons, gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and the majority of pre-operative transsexual persons, it is basically impossible to have travel documentation with the sex designation which matches the gender identity in which they live.
If a Transgendered person doesn’t have this almost impossible change in their documentation, they are “unfit” to fly in Canada.
In an interesting coincidence, the regulatory adjustment occurred immediately following the federal election in 2011. In the previous parliament, Bill C-389, a bill to amend the Human Rights Code to explicitly enshrine protections against discrimination for transgender people, had successfully passed in the House of Commons, only to die on the Senate floor when Harper declared a Federal Election (thereby dissolving parliament).
This is very disappointing turn for Canada to make against a community that have brought in revenue due to gay marriage tourism and the Toronto Gay Pride parade. Fingers crossed this wrong will soon be righted.