Well, would you look at that. Someone managed to sneak in some interesting new rules in the Aeronautics Act, which controls flying and safety in Canada, with a particularly troubling new addition under Identity Screening Regulations. Look at section 5.2, Paragraph C:
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;
At first I was confused reading this. The regulations go back to 2007, how could this be new? Turns out, it was snuck in last year, and just wasn’t unearthed by vigilant Canadian trans activists until now.
This is particularly bothersome to me because just yesterday, Jaime came out of the closet and is now living as a woman full time. She and I are working together to help make this as easy and pain-free as possible, and while our friends and loved ones have been very loving and supportive, we’ve barely made it through the last 48 hours without having assholes stare at her, move away from us on the bus, shout crude things at her from cars, and call out “Nice boots, DUDE!” on the sidewalk. The daily life of a trans person has the potential to be filled with humiliation, misgendering, and degradation, and it’s especially frightening when coming from people who have power over their lives, like doctors, police officers, and government officials.
Even though there have been no reported cases of a trans person being grounded because of this, it’s a sword of Damocles over the head of any trans, nonbinary, or genderqueer person who flies in Canada. Since this provision is based heavily on appearance, it would be up to the personal discretion of the airport/customs screeners, which can lead to a sliding scale of harassment and intimidation for people flying. If a trans person has not yet undergone the “necessary” procedures (In Canada it varies on a provincial basis) to get their name and gender changed on official documents, that would pose even more problems for them.
But don’t worry! There’s something you can do to keep trans people from being grounded. Sign here to tell the
Government of Canada Harper Government what you think about this travesty of trans human rights.