Lately they’ve started requiring a passport to cross the boarder between the US and Canada. An extra expense for working people who live along the border.
But for pre-op TS folks or TG folks this becomes an oppressive burden due to their being denied passports that reflect the gender they live full time. I know this tread the line between sex/gender but when people commit to living full time as a member of a particular sex even if they don’t actually have SRS to become a member of that sex it seems a matter of human rights to permit them necessary identification documents that do not place an extra burden upon them by automatically revealing their being TS/TG to petty bureaucratic border enforcement officers.
I’m tired of the government spending so much energy on snooping in the lives of individual citizens while they totally ignore the crimes of the corporations and rich.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Talia Johnson is nervous to travel. One look at her passport tells a border guard everything they need to know about her gender status.
Johnson, who has had her name legally changed, now wants to change the sex designation on her passport – a simple correction from “m” to “f” – to ensure all her documents accurately reflect her gender.
The federal government says trans people must undergo sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), or provide a letter guaranteeing the procedure will take place within a year.
The Ottawa resident has not yet had SRS, mainly due to the financial cost of the surgery. She would also have to take time off work and travel to Toronto. “The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto is the only organization in Ontario that offers SRS. There is a long wait and it’s not easy to get.
“The status now is I don’t have a passport. Without the sex designation change, trans people are put in constant danger while traveling under the assumed sex. At this point in my life, I will have trouble if I travel.”
Susan Gapka, chair of the Trans Health Lobby Group, has been working on this issue for years. Her group is pushing to make transitioning easier by opening up access to SRS and removing the red tape around changing legal documents.
“If your legal documents don’t match at the border there could be problems,” Gapka says. “I have had bad experiences at the airport. You can be singled out for looking different. A police officer could ask questions. It opens the door to harassment and discrimination.”