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Thread: Question for Canadian Members or Those Who May Know

  1. #1
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    Question for Canadian Members or Those Who May Know

    Hi all,

    Well I am a bit steamed to say the least . . . just when I wish to rest on my laurels about how progressive Canada is, I get blindsided by narrow minded Conservative tripe designed to discriminate against those who do not conform to a neat binary.

    My wife and I just got back from a trip to the US and as I have an upcoming trip to the Victoria BC I thought this would be a great opportunity to experience flying as Isha. So, I approached the CATSA agents to ask what things I need to do in order to ensure a smooth check in / screening while "en femme". Imagine my surprise when the agent looked at me, smirked and said "Unless you have your equipment removed or have a doctor's letter saying it will be done within the year, it is illegal to fly as the opposite gender". Needless to say, the douchebag agent and myself had words along with his supervisor about his rudeness and I have lodged an official complaint about the agent and now his DB supervisor who laughed at my "silly question".

    So my understanding is that an obscure Transport Canada change (no vote required) in 2012 made it illegal for Trans persons to fly while presenting as the opposite gender on their documentation unless they could produce a doctor's letter indicating they are TS and will undergo SRS within a year.

    So my question to any Canadian TG folks who have flown as the opposite gender since 2012 . . . Is this something you have experienced?

    Sorry, very upset and very ashamed to be Canadian at this moment

    Hugs

    Isha

  2. #2
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    Isha, that is totally insane. Illegal? That's not cool.
    I haven't been to Canada (yet) but I guess I won't fly.....

  3. #3
    Swans have more fun! sandra-leigh's Avatar
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    In the FB discussions I have seen, this has not been a problem in practice for anyone who has gone through it.

    The key to keep it within legality is to use your legal sex marker on the reservation / ticket.

    If, like me, you can be "read" at a glance, then oddly that can be easier than if someone really has to look hard to see your birth sex. If "no-one is fooled" then you are not "passing yourself off" as the other gender.

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    I'm guessing it is some sort of homeland security law as otherwise usually anti discrimination law trumps most other laws as it is generally associated with international treaties.

    I would be seeking clarification. And as much as I am not a fan of discrimination if the advise was legally correct then I would be cautious about travelling femme as I doubt you really want to be arrested under any sort of security law. It would certainly be something though I think I would be bringing up before the Anti-discrimination commissioner or other similar authority.

  5. #5
    The non-GG next door.... Candice Mae's Avatar
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    Hmm... May need to keep some of my old clothes around, otherwise I will be grounded. I wonder if this applies to boarder crossings, preventing me from going to the states to catch a flight. As I really have no reason to fly with in Canada.

  6. #6
    Silver Member JenniferR771's Avatar
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    Does that mean CTSA demands that women who wear jeans, boots, and have short hair are not permitted to fly? Or is it OK as long as they are carrying a purse?
    This is upsetting. Thanks for the information, Isha.
    Hopefully more enlightened persons will reverse this sad idea.

  7. #7
    GG ReineD's Avatar
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    I have an anecdote to offer. I live in the US. I recently renewed a lapsed 5-year Canadian passport. in 2009 shortly after it was issued, I received a call from Passport Canada apologizing for the mistake, but they had given me a Male designation on my passport. The representative asked me to send her the passport as soon as I could so that she could fix the mistake. I was due to fly to Canada a few weeks hence, so I didn't send it. And then I forgot about it. During the course of the 5 years, every time I remembered was when I needed it to travel to Canada, so it was not the time to mail it in and wait to have it corrected. I have flown to Canada and driven across borders multiple times per year. NO ONE has ever even pointed out that my passport gender was "M"! (and no, I don't look like a guy. )

    People can be sticklers when citing rules, but in practice it is another matter.

    Also, Sandra has a good point. If your passport and ticket indicate "M", then there is no issue. It is not up to the CATSA to comment on your hair length or clothing choices. People change their hair length and color, men grow and shave beards, etc.

    FYI, the exact wording of the law is as follows:

    http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regula.../FullText.html

    5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if
    (a) the passenger presents a piece of photo identification and does not resemble the photograph;
    (b) the passenger does not appear to be the age indicated by the date of birth on the identification he or she presents;
    (c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents; or
    (d) the passenger presents more than one form of identification and there is a major discrepancy between those forms of identification.

    (2) Despite paragraph (1)(a), an air carrier may transport a passenger who presents a piece of photo identification but does not resemble the photograph if
    (a) the passenger’s appearance changed for medical reasons after the photograph was taken and the passenger presents the air carrier with a document signed by a health care professional and attesting to that fact; or
    (b) the passengers’s face is bandaged for medical reasons and the passenger presents the air carrier with a document signed by a health care professional and attesting to that fact.
    I think the intent is to prevent a person from using someone else's passport as their own for nefarious reasons. If a transsexual has had FFS, is on HRT, and no longer looks like her old photo, yet she has not had her gender marker legally changed, could she not have her passport photo changed while still retaining the "M" until such time as she can legally change it to "F", plus carry a letter indicating that she is undergoing transition? I don't take it that the law is preventing someone from appearing in the manner they choose.
    Reine

  8. #8
    Gold Member Rachael Leigh's Avatar
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    Does sound a little strange to me for sure I mean if you have all the legal docs that prove who you are who cares how your dressed. I mean just come thru Mexico Isha, doesn't seem like they care at all who comes thru that border lol.

  9. #9
    Seasoned Member Rhonda Darling's Avatar
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    Isha:

    A very sad state of affairs. This is probably worth speaking to a Canada based trans-rights organization for some competent advice as to how this has played out in real life for CD/TG/TS ladies. The law seems vague, so check with the CATSA office to see if there are post orders or other written guidance for the officers at checkpoints.

    For reference, this is the link to the USA's TSA site about transgendered travelers:
    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...nder-travelers.

    Good luck and please keep us posted on your findings.

    Best regards,
    Rhonda
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  10. #10
    I accept myself as is Gillian Gigs's Avatar
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    I am never ashamed to be a Canadian, if anyone is to blame, blame the terrorist groups that are destroying our freedoms, so we may be kept safe, from them!Border security is a very serious business, not flying enfemme is a small price to pay to help keep out those who would bring harm into our respective countries. It is sad that there are individuals who would not show respect to anyone, regardless of the reason, and well done that they should be reported. To bring this into prospective we need to remember that people will willingly give up freedoms to be kept safe, which isn't right, but still a reality. If we want safety, then we all have a price to pay, whether we like it or not.
    I like myself, regardless of the packaging that I may come in! It's what is on the inside of the package that counts!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillian Gigs View Post
    I am never ashamed to be a Canadian, if anyone is to blame, blame the terrorist groups that are destroying our freedoms, so we may be kept safe, from them!Border security is a very serious business, not flying enfemme is a small price to pay to help keep out those who would bring harm into our respective countries. It is sad that there are individuals who would not show respect to anyone, regardless of the reason, and well done that they should be reported. To bring this into prospective we need to remember that people will willingly give up freedoms to be kept safe, which isn't right, but still a reality. If we want safety, then we all have a price to pay, whether we like it or not.
    Yeah, they sure never explained it to Isha like this did they? They need some sensitivity training and back up plans when situations like this occur.

  12. #12
    Aspiring Member LelaK's Avatar
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    I prefer no mention of terrorists, since I'm probably not free here to give my reply (such as the shame of the war on "terror").
    Last edited by LelaK; 10-14-2014 at 12:26 AM.
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  13. #13
    Swans have more fun! sandra-leigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillian Gigs View Post
    not flying enfemme is a small price to pay to help keep out those who would bring harm into our respective countries.
    Are you volunteering to pay for my gender therapy and my HRT medications and my electrolysis? Considering that you feel they are only a "small price" ?

    Thought experiment: recall the last time you flew. Now how much did it matter to you whether the person two rows away was "really" male or "really" female as they appeared to be? Would you have prepared different mental emergency plans if you knew that their chromosomes were not what they had first glanced appeared? But you wouldn't have worried about whether the femme-looking XX woman had been taking testosterone and working out and had only put on a femme appearance today because they worried about being refused the flight if their appearance (normally more male-ish) did not match their not-yet-changed legal gender? The dignified short 98 pound young woman, would you have taken more safety measures if he had been forced to put on his man-costume and so look like a miserable "98 pound weakling" ?

    What a person wears on the flight is not the real issue for "terror". Whether a proper upper limit on a person's dangerousness has been judged is more important. There is, however, no screening for strength or fighting skills or ability to manipulate mobs or the like.

    Have you paid attention to why flights have early landings due to passenger behavior? Drunks, mostly. Belligerent refusal to remove something that is interfering with adjustment of the seats. Making a big fuss because the tea is not warm enough. Panicking because they notice that a fellow passenger is calmly reading Arabic-language news sites (yes, they yanked the reader off of the flight, questioned him, and sent him onward when it became obvious that he was never any threat.) Did I mention the panic over a couple of passengers talking Arabic to each other?

    Surely it would be a small price to pay if passengers were prohibited from reading, talking, playing games, listening to music, communicating through sign language, or anything else that could potentially be used to... ummm, coordinate attacks? Discuss targets? Well, we'll work out that part out later, better to be safe, right? Hey you, stop that coughing! And you, don't scratch yourself !!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillian Gigs View Post
    if anyone is to blame, blame the terrorist groups that are destroying our freedoms, so we may be kept safe, from them!
    Really, seriously, it is OK to discriminate and perpetrate intolerance and misunderstanding because it is a part of the fight against terrorism. The whole point of fighting terrorism is fighting intolerance and discrimination.

    Rule 5.2.1(c) seems to be fairly clear though in that it is illegal for a carrier to transport a person whose appearance is of a different gender to that stated on their identification. I think the law is poorly thought out. It should be sufficient to legally require a person to be able to verify that they are the person identified in the document presented. Interestingly Reine it would be possible that technically you could have been refused travel based on 5.2.1(c) despite clearly being the person in the photo identification. To be frank Rule 5.2.1 is actually a legal mess and would probably be torn apart by a half decent lawyer if genuinely challenged.

  15. #15
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Isha I'm surprised you have encountered this problem on an internal flight !
    The officials concerned have dealt with it badly and the problem should be corrected !
    I don't mean this to sound facetious but if you had actually arranged to meet someone on arrival who only knew you only as Isha, what would happen if you actually changed in the toilet on the plane ? What rules cover that eventuality ?

  16. #16
    Member BOBBI G.'s Avatar
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    Teresa,

    Interesting comment to the issue. They would have gotten off visually checking the carry-on, and done it publicly, in an attempt to embarrass. IQ's are not a requirement for government jobs, on either side of our border, and these employed by these agencies should be grateful for this. Oh, yes, I live south of the Canadian border (next door), and we are still having occasional problems here. All of this security is the reason I no longer fly. I now plan all my travels using private means and save myself the headache of aggravations.

    Bobbi

  17. #17
    Aspiring Member Georgina's Avatar
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    Isha did he say it was illegal for a male to wear a dress? It appears he only mentioned genitalia. If the genitalia match the gender on the passport is there a problem? Changing clothes does not change gender.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReineD View Post
    . . . People can be sticklers when citing rules, but in practice it is another matter.

    Also, Sandra has a good point. If your passport and ticket indicate "M", then there is no issue. It is not up to the CATSA to comment on your hair length or clothing choices. People change their hair length and color, men grow and shave beards, etc.

    FYI, the exact wording of the law is as follows:

    5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if
    (a) the passenger presents a piece of photo identification and does not resemble the photograph;
    (b) the passenger does not appear to be the age indicated by the date of birth on the identification he or she presents;
    (c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents; or

    I think the intent is to prevent a person from using someone else's passport as their own for nefarious reasons... I don't take it that the law is preventing someone from appearing in the manner they choose.
    Hi Reine,

    I agree in principle and from other feedback received from a local TG support group . . . there have been few issues with "trans" persons flying while presenting in the opposite gender from their travel documentation. Specifically, if you look like your photo ID even while dressed (i.e., you don't pass whatsoever) it is unlikely they will prevent you from boarding as it is a touchy subject. However this is a lot of "might, should, may, can". Others have said, if the letter of the regulation is applied "the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents" it can be left up the CSTSA agent to interpret what that means as there is no policy on the CSTSA site for transgender travel. So if I happen upon a ticketing agent or CSTSA employee who looks at me and says . . . "you are presenting as a woman and your ID says male . . . no flight for you" I can certainly ask to see a supervisor but if they side with the agent then I am out of luck and arguing the point will only be me ejected from the airport as a safety concern.

    So while the wording may have been designed with the best intentions to ensure some terrorist does not slip through disguised as a woman the interpretation is too broad. Hence the reason why the two dimwits I talked to yesterday interpreted the regulation as unless I am TS with the working parts removed or have a doctor's letter saying I am going through the process . . . I can't fly while presenting myself as a woman regardless of how poorly I pass. BTW I just checked my ticket from my outbound flights to Washington from Canada and nowhere is "gender" even indicated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillian Gigs View Post
    . . . If we want safety, then we all have a price to pay, whether we like it or not.
    Hi Gillian,

    My gender presentation has nothing to do with "safety" and everything to do with IMHO providing a poorly worded regulation which could provide the opportunity for some CSTSA employee or ticketing agent to discriminate at will. I have to ponder the question why a security risk would go through all the trouble to disguise himself as a woman only to present "male" identification when boarding a flight . . . hmmm seems a bit counterintuitive . . . "yes I know it says male on my passport but trust me I am a woman, nudge, nudge, wink, wink".

    Regarding "giving up rights" for the sake of safety . . . are you serious? I get so tired of people throwing that Conservative tripe about restricting basic human rights for the greater good BS. Don't fool yourself, whenever we give up basic rights in the name of "freedom and or safety" we become less free and less safe. I am in the military and have seen first hand what curtailed freedom and rights do in other countries . . . funny how my TG status is never an issue when it is time go deploy for the sake of freedom.

    Hugs

    Isha

  19. #19
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    Blame it on the terrorists. People who are willing to kill themselves just to take out a few hundred innocent others who don't believe in the same supreme being as they do. It wasn't so long ago that you could buy a plane ticket and just walk onto the plane and sit down. You could give your ticket to a friend and he or she could just walk onto the plane and sit down. Been there, done that.

    Now, because of the threat of terrorists, your privacy is invaded, you have to prove who you are and stand in long lines to get on the plane. They have rules but the rules don't apply to every situation (such as transgendered or crossdressers). The agents are left to decide some things on their own and these folks are people who were not at the top of their graduating class.

    The easiest thing to do is suck it up and dress how you are expected to dress. You can change when you get off the plane.
    Last edited by Krisi; 10-14-2014 at 06:44 AM.

  20. #20
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    Hello Krisi,

    The intent of my post was to find out if anyone has had issues boarding flights in Canada not so much who agrees with the regulations or not. However, I do thank you for your response even though I don't agree with the premise of it

    Yes you are right . . . I suppose I could just "suck it up" and dress how I am expected to dress and change when I get off the plane. However that is not really the point is it now? What next . . . perhaps you will be required to ensure your photo documentation matches your presentation should the local police pull you over (all in the name of safety of course) or should you just simply be asked for it by police on a random check. So I guess we should just "suck it up" and dress as expected by narrow minded people and never present in public again? Just saying . . . the "just suck it up approach never works" when it comes to rights and freedoms.

    Hugs

    Isha
    Last edited by Marcelle; 10-14-2014 at 07:13 AM.

  21. #21
    BEING YOUnique is AWESOME Princess Chantal's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments like "blame it on the terrorists" and "homeland security", I really needed a chuckle this morning! It is discrimination based and stubborness to accept alternative lifestyles.

  22. #22
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    I'm glad I put some humor into your life today.

    Seriously, the checking of ID cards and such has nothing at all to do with discrimination based and stubborness to accept alternative lifestyles, it's an attempt to make sure that people boarding airplanes are who they say they are and not people intent on blowing up the plane or running it into targets on the ground. It's for your own safety. It's inconvenient but necessary in today's troubled times.

    I hope I make myself clear.

  23. #23
    I accept myself as is Gillian Gigs's Avatar
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    Krisi quote," it's an attempt to make sure that people boarding airplanes are who they say they are and not people intent on blowing up the plane or running it into targets on the ground. It's for your own safety. It's inconvenient but necessary in today's troubled times."

    I had a friend who attempted to use an air ticket to travel from Edmonton to Toronto back in the 80's that was not in his name. Wow, what a nightmare for him, all of his friends learned a lesson from that one. The whole thing was about deception, and not being who the ticket said that he was. Well in the paranoid world we live in today, CDing can be miscontrued as being deception by an individual. I am not saying that it is right, or wrong, just stating that it can be misconstured that way.

    Giving up freedoms for the sake of safety has nothing to do with politics, liberal, or conservative, people just want to feel safe within their own country. Is it right that someone can get pulled from a plane due to racial profiling, no, but it is going to happen when the paranoid people run amock. There must be a very thin line between paranoia, and "this is not going to happen on my watch", so I attempt to co-operate with any law enforcement agency who is keeping my country safe. They will make mistakes, but let us hope those mistakes don't give us another 911.

    All religion, or politics aside I am a proud Canadian who is damm glad to live next door to the USA, and we need to work together to make our countries safe to live in!
    Last edited by Gillian Gigs; 10-14-2014 at 12:06 PM. Reason: spelling
    I like myself, regardless of the packaging that I may come in! It's what is on the inside of the package that counts!

  24. #24
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    Sadly, the entire tenor of reaction to terrorist attacks seems to have been the restriction of the freedom of citizens and the institution of mindless bureaucratic rules enforced in a rude and aggressive fashion .

    I had to travel to Canada frequently a few years ago and was struck by the absence of an open friendly manner that was so evident in prior years. Gone were the welcoming smiles and relaxed manner to be replaced by severe faces and dark paramilitary uniforms with stab vests. Similarly in the UK, where immigration officials usually wore smart but casual clothing and were quite pleasant and relaxed, there is a trend to severity and uniformity.

    Along with this tendency to regard everyone as a potential terrorist comes the need to check everyone including small children and elderly people in wheel chairs.

    The result is that an innocent person who chooses to dress in clothing normally associated with the opposite sex, is treated disrespectfully and aggressively.

    I have come to dislike flying because of this dreadful and moronic security apparatus. If at all possible I take other forms of transport where security is more relaxed. Unfortunately a train trip across Canada is not a practical option in this case.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillian Gigs View Post
    ... Giving up freedoms for the sake of safety has nothing to do with politics, liberal, or conservative, people just want to feel safe within their own country.
    Gillian . . . again . . . are you serious? You would gladly give up freedoms just to feel safe? Okay, what would you do if the government passed a law advocating that any who dresses as the opposite gender is suspect of potential terrorist activity because they are hiding something and these same people can be arrested and detained at will . . . oh and your neighbours and friends are free to turn you in. Would you allow that happen? Would you give up that freedom to feel safe? And safe from what?

    If I present myself at the airport as Isha and my ID is male what security threat am I by presenting ID openly as male. Are you implying my being dressed as a woman makes me deceptive hence I have no right to be treated with respect and dignity because these great law enforcement agencies you are talking about are keeping you safe? I have shed a lot for this country so don't even get me started on the whole making the world safe for democracy tripe. This is a blatant attempt by the Conservative government to backdoor discrimination policy aimed at the trans community and I find it difficult to believe one of our own would roll over and say "okay so long as you are making the country safe please step on whatever rights you need to".

    Isha

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