Mercedes Allen

Canadian MPs Snicker & Mock Trans Airport Screening Concerns

Filed By Mercedes Allen | February 02, 2012 4:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: airport security, Canada, international, transgender, transsexual

I'm continuing the reportage of the new regulations that could potentially bar some trans Canadians from being able to board a plane. Here's part one for the background, and a statement from the Trans Equality Society of Alberta.AirCanadaAirplane.jpg There are a few online petitions to address the issue, including this one at

Xtra is reporting that "Lebel and other Conservative MPs were openly 'snickering' and disrespectfully mocking Garrison, Morin and Liberal MP Justin Trudeau as they pressed the government for answers."

"The response was outrageous," [Olivia] Chow says. "It's totally ridiculous. If you listen to the audio, you can hear [Conservative MPs] snickering in the background."

There are two videos at the link.

Randall Garrison -- the NDP's LGBT critic -- is also the author of Bill C-279, the Private Member's Bill that will be coming up for Second Reading (in April or later, it appears) which proposes to add transsexual and transgender people to the list of protected classes in the Canada Human Rights Act and the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada. Garrison, Dany Morin (NDP), and Justin Trudeau (Liberal Party) grilled Transportation Minister Denis Lebel in Question Period Wednesday.

In a blog post at Huffpo Canada, Kyle Knight points out that the gender marker match requirement is actually far beyond the international standard for security screening at airports:

According to the ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization], there are four mandatory personal data points on all international travel documents: name, date of birth, nationality, and sex. ICAO standards for Machine Readable Passports indicate that sex may be listed as unspecified, both in the part inspected by humans and in the part that is read by computers.

Might this be the reason that Transport Canada apparently pulled their response letter that Xtra had featured on their website?

And in an interview with CityNews Toronto, Christin Milloy says she's heard of people having trouble in airports as a result of the regulation. So far, I have no confirmation of this, so we still have to wait until someone comes forward.

Garrison and Olivia Chow have reportedly drafted a motion to rescind the new regulations, so there may be more happening today. Stay tuned!

Crossposted at DBM with Hansard transcription of yesterday's debate.

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