Justin Trudeau stands up for transgender people on discriminatory airline rules

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      Canada's transgender community is up in arms over federal rules that could stop people from boarding airplanes if their appearance is deemed to not match the gender on their identification.

      Blogger Christin Scarlett Milloy helped bring the air travel regulations to light on January 30. In her post, Milloy noted that the "obviously discriminatory smear" came into effect shortly after the last federal election, which handed Stephen Harper's Conservatives a majority.

      The offending passages in the Identity Screening Regulations, used at airports, state:

      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;

      Liberal MP Justin Trudeau is citing the rules as an example of the "neo-con agenda" of the Harper government. "This government keeps pushing its agenda of intolerance and hopes we don't notice. This is just wrong," he tweeted on January 31.

      Today (February 1) during question period in Ottawa, the parliamentarian from Papineau took the Conservatives to task for the "direct affront to the transsexual and transgender community".

      According to the Toronto Star, Randall Garrison, the NDP MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, has also written to Transport Minister Denis Lebel, seeking an explanation.

      You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.




      Feb 1, 2012 at 4:18pm

      He certainly didn't inherit his father's brains.

      Matt McLauchlin

      Feb 1, 2012 at 4:46pm

      Randall Garrison and Dany Morin of the NDP also addressed the issue during QP and took issue with the Conservatives' dismissive attitude and insulting heckling. Why no mention?

      glen p robbins

      Feb 1, 2012 at 5:22pm

      Mr. Trudeau et al are correct here, the way this is written is clearly designed to be discriminatory shrouded as an effort to ensure airline security. The specific language pointing to gender rather than more general language pertaining to a discernable difference in any context would have been more fitting. I vote with Justin on this.

      R U Kiddingme

      Feb 1, 2012 at 6:52pm

      Ok, we're all very sensitive people...no wish to offend... but click on the helpfully provided link and read the regs. There is nothing in there about the TG passenger being refused boarding. It would be that someone who has a, uh, hamburger who used to have a turtle, or vice versa, would be required to explain this with medical documentation. Gender is one of the standard rubrics of identity. No one can dispute this; after all, if gender was not about identity then why is there TG surgery?


      Feb 1, 2012 at 7:02pm

      I see nothing wrong with this policy designed to make airline travel safe for everyone.


      Feb 1, 2012 at 8:03pm

      @blue heron......ok, clarify...as in 'throw light upon' that statement. Written as it is it means absolutely nothing.


      Feb 2, 2012 at 11:38am

      the same policy also applies to age - boarding can be refused if the person's age doesnt seem to match their appearance. i dont think this is an intentionally discriminatory policy, just a perhaps not very well thought out one as it relates to the TG community.


      Feb 2, 2012 at 12:29pm

      typical Tory response. That was a vague, lame answer which I've come to expect in my own dealings with my own Tory MP. Underlying it all is the suggestion, as Justin Trudeau says, is the neo-con hidden agenda that drives this government. The reason so many people don't see what the problem is is because most people are congruent with their birth gender. To those of us who aren't, and haven't had surgery for whatever reason (and there are many reasons people don't want to do surgery), then this is a gross violation of our rights to free movement. At the very least this is an ill-thought out part of the new legislation... at worst it is a covert and discriminatory attempt to oppress and dissuade those who are 'different'. In any case the result is the same - mandated discrimination against a marginalized segment of Canadian citizens. :(

      Ray I

      Feb 2, 2012 at 2:46pm

      Airline flight is not a right in Canada. If you want to fly you need to have government identification that accurately describes you. That is not discrimination, it is common sense.


      Feb 2, 2012 at 8:04pm

      Airline security is a complete joke, bruce schneier has written endlessly how all these regulations countries keep coming up with are a joke and just invade our freedom.

      You shouldn't have to show any ID to take a plane domestically. Pretty soon I'll have to be eye scanned just to get on the bus