Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada

Check out Chris’s Blog. She’s another great Canadian blogger

From Christin Milloy:

by Christin Scarlett Milloy
January 30, 2012

Reposted with permission

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.

So what does this mean? Well, in order to change the ‘sex’ designation on a Canadian Passport, the federal government requires proof that surgery has taken place, or will take place within one year. So for non-operative transgender persons, for gender nonconforming (genderqueer) persons, and for the vast majority of pre-operative transsexual persons, it is literally impossible to obtain proper travel documentation marked with the sex designation which “matches” the gender identity in which they live.

In the eyes of the honourable Minister of Transportation, that makes trans people unfit to fly in Canada.

It is interesting to note that this 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).

Is the timing of this disturbing and blatantly discriminatory regulatory adjustment merely a coincidence? That is up to you to decide. However, the negative impact on trans people is crystal clear, and we need to take action now.

What You Can Do:

Facebook Group: À bas l’interdiction aérienne transphobe—Against Canada’s trans flight ban

Recommended Further Reading:

Air Canada confirms they must comply with transphobic law (Jennifer McCreath)

Canadian Department of Justice…Here comes Josie!! (TranssisterR8TO)

11 Responses to “Transgender People are Completely Banned From Boarding Airplanes in Canada”

  1. Andrea B. Says:

    Someone needs to find out who was giving advice on this matter.

    I would ask if any staff or past students from Toronto University was giving expert advice on this issue?

  2. tinagrrl Says:

    They’ve got the same “religious crazies” in Canada we have in the USA.

  3. elizabeth1945 Says:

    Much ado about nothing! All they have to do is get a new id with a matching photograph for how they look. For those in transition and preparing for SRS it is doable with the government if SRS is within a year. For others just get a new id and go as yourself but that is not the real problem here is it. The real problem here is the transvestites want to be able to travel en femme and still maintain their male ids for financial reasons.

    I spent the years from 14 to 25 looking like I did traveling with both a passport and an driver license that said male for sex with the picture of a girl. That worked then and it would work today. The problem is the transvestites want it both ways.

    • Suzan Says:

      What you did between 14 and 25 isn’t all that relevant these days. I’m going to assume that was sometime in the last century.

      Since then we have come to find ourselves (Us citizens) needing fucking passports to go Canada and Mexico. There are these no-fly lists in the US and now else where that restrict the freedom of movement for everyone who is below the upper class.

      The last times I have flown post-911 I’ve carried both state issued driver license/IDcard and US Passport. ID is a non-issue for me. The abusing of people who have the audacity to not conform to some fucking Nazioid standard of appearance is a concern to me because it impinges upon the rights of a minority group. It concerns me because it is an offense to the dignity and equality of a person who is simply different.

      I don’t have to love that particular group of people to defend their right to dignity and equal treatment>

      I’m a stone atheist. I hate the way the fundamentalists of the various religions abuse women, yet I defend members of those various religions right to not be discriminated against or persecuted for those beliefs.

  4. elizabeth1945 Says:


    It is quite simply a safety problem. People cannot be allowed to travel appearing different than their identification. If this was an ideal world then there would be nothing to fear but it is far from ideal. It is not an offense to the dignity and equality of anyone it is a safety concern.

    Get anew license with your new picture. Even if it says M it should not be an issue. Allowing people to fly without proper identification puts every person on the flight at Risk. People do not deserve special “rights” because they happen to be different.

    This is not religious, trans, or anything like that. It is a simple matter of the authorities need to know who is boarding a plane. Personally as someone that did fly a lot because of business I prefer to believe they at least have a clue who is getting on a plane.

    I like you have always flown with a license and a passport. They were not difficult to get if one qualified. I guess we need special “trans” rules now.

    • Suzan Says:

      Bullshit. It is a manufactured issue. Since the vast majority of plane hijackings have been done by men, why not ban all men from flying.

      Better yet require people to fly naked.

      This is just plain old Nazi police state bullshit.

  5. Andrea B. Says:

    @ elizabeth1945

    If someone is transsexual and does not pass perfectly in there new sex, they can be refused entry onto a flight under this legislation.

    Also refusing someone a flight just because they are TG or a transsexual person who does not pass, would be a very vindictive thing to do.

    If it becomes acceptable to refuse a group or groups who have done nothing wrong, the right to fly just for merely existing, then it is easier to take other steps against that group or other groups.

    I have no time for transgenderism at all and can not understand it in the slightest, but I will defend there right to use public transport, work, have somewhere to live and to exist.

    This legislation cross’s a line for me.

    As far as I am concerned, I believe this legislation needs to be faced down.

    @ Tina,

    I know there are religious crazies in every country. I was suprised that the religious crazies got this past the normal checks and balances in the Canadian government. Then again I have not paid attention to the Canadian government for a few years now.

    It is a very bad sign that the insanity that is occuring in the Middle East, USA and Africa is spreading out faster than I realised.

    @ Suzy,

    Flying naked. In Germany you could maybe do that, although the large hairy beer bellies might make you want to burn your eyes out of your head, but there are far to many prudes in Canada and USA for that to work 🙂

    Some of the worst hardliners in Northern Ireland against the peace process are women. Some of the nastiest pieces of work during the troubles were women. A lot of them were fanatics. Quite a few of them refused to sign up to the peace process, refused to compromise on anything and joined dissident groups.

    Female suicide bombers are common in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is only a matter of time before a plane hijacking is done by a group of female terrorists.

  6. dentedbluemercedes Says:

    @elizabeth1945 – If someone can prove their identity through photographic identification, age assessment and authentic ID, I don’t see why it should be an issue whether a subjective visual assessment of what their gender is matches the marker on their ID. And I don’t see how airlines should be afraid of being found in violation federal law by letting someone who’s clearly not a terrorist board simply because they’re trans in some way.

    We’re not asking for a special rule for trans people so much as for there *not* to be a special rule that singles them out as terrorists.

  7. tinagrrl Says:

    Prime Minister Harper of Canada has been described by some as a “George Bush wannabe”. Need I say more?

    I find it interesting you write: “It is a very bad sign that the insanity that is occuring in the Middle East, USA and Africa is spreading out faster than I realised.”

    Then write: “Some of the worst hardliners in Northern Ireland against the peace process are women. Some of the nastiest pieces of work during the troubles were women. A lot of
    them were fanatics.”

    Since the years and years of problems in Ireland have had religion as a major component, how does that really differ from many of the issues in (as you put it), “the Middle East, USA and Africa”?

    How about India, or even India and Pakistan? How about clashes between different Buddhist Sects (see Korea)?

    Perhaps some folks might even say, “I’m surprised the insanity spread out from Ireland so quickly” — that is just as incorrect as some other statements.

  8. Andrea B. Says:

    @ Tina,

    Ireland is slowly moving away from that lunacy. It is a brutal process, but the country is slowly going away from religious control, as scandal after scandal is exposed.

    I was referring to women around the process that occurred up to the 98 referendum on the peace process. There numbers are also dwindling.

  9. Andrea B. Says:

    @ dentedbluemercedes

    A transphobe has a license to be a bigot with the legislation and I can assure you it is only a matter of time before someone who does not pass with proper identification is stopped from flying.

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