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Posted at 03:05 PM ET, 01/31/2012

Canada transportation rules: Could they prevent transgender people from flying?

It’s always in the fine print.


An Air Canada Jazz airplane. (Brent Lewin - BLOOMBERG)
An airport security screening regulation put into place in Canada in July is drawing attention from some critics who fear it could prevent transgender people from being able to fly.

The regulation, noticed by blogger Christin Scarlett Milloy, 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.

The regulation is part of a wider set of rules, equivalent to the U.S.’s “no-fly” list, that was put into place by Canada’s Conservative Minister of Transportation, Denis Lebel.

While the regulation is likely intended to prevent people from using fake or stolen IDs, Millroy contends the regulation could also be problematic for some fliers:

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.

There are no instances of a transgender person being affected by the regulation so far, according to Jezebel.

It is also likely that transgender people would have no problems boarding if they carry medical exemptions with them, though gaining the exemption costs a fee, LGBT blog Dented Blue Mercedes points out.

Transport Canada says that airlines in Canada must have procedures to identify passengers, and that the approach applies  “to all passengers, regardless of their culture, religion or sexual orientation.”

It also said it is not aware of any transgendered or transsexual individual carrying a medical document who has not been permitted to fly since the regulations were published.

LGBT activists, however, say the regulation should be more clearly worded so as not to affect transgender fliers.

While a human rights legislation that includes transexual and transgender Canadians was passed by the country’s parliament last year, it died before reaching the Senate.

This story has been updated.

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Tags:  World, Canada, transgender

 
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