Well, so much for our neighbors to the north being a paragon of politeness and acceptance. There's been a disturbing change made to Canadian airport security screening rules which means that now transgender people are not allowed to board airplanes in the country. That is obviously hugely problematic and insane for any number of reasons. Let's look at how things ended up in this sorry state.
It turns out this policy was actually put into effect back in July, but has only recently been noticed by the general public. Blogger Christin Scarlett Milloy points us to the relevant piece of regulation:
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 regulation was part of a larger set of rules put into place by the Minister of Transportation, Denis Lebel, who happens to be a conservative. (Surprise!) He required no approval from the Canadian parliament to implement them, which explains why no one was aware this was even a problem until recently.
So now that this ridiculous regulation has been unearthed from the obscurity of a government document, what does it actually mean to trans travelers? In theory anyone who doesn't appear to be the sex listed on their ID can be turned away from boarding a plane. But it's not as simple as just getting the sex designation changed on your passport, in order to do that the government requires proof that you've either had sex reassignment surgery or will have it within one year. So basically any transgender person who doesn't fall neatly into that very narrow category is screwed because they can't get a proper ID.
The one small piece of good news in all of this, if there is any, is that so far no one is aware of anybody actually being refused entrance onto a plane because of this ridiculous rule. And now that this has come to wider attention and is drawing outrage, it seems unlikely the government will be able to continue this hugely discriminatory practice for long—not least because surely the airlines will do everything they can to ensure they have as many paying customers on board as they can get.
Image via woodygraphs/Shutterstock.