Tag Archives: identity screening
OTTAWA—The Canadian transgendered community fears being grounded by rules forbidding airlines from allowing someone to board if their hair and clothing do not match the gender identity listed on their passport or other identification.
“We cannot have regulations which judge people on how they appear to be gendered. It’s unacceptable,” said Christin Milloy, a trans-identified blogger whose Monday post about the identity requirements for air travel was one of those widely discussed by the transgendered community online this week.
At issue were a couple dozen words buried in the identity screening regulations that airlines must follow when it comes to deciding who can — and can’t — board their aircraft.
“An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if . . . the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents,” says the amendment to Transport Canada regulations, first published in August 2010 but apparently unnoticed until now.
No stories about transgendered people being banned from flights have emerged and one likely reason is the existence of a loophole that was missed in all the uproar.
“If, for medical reasons, a passenger’s facial features do not correspond to the photo on his or her identification, the air carrier may authorize the passenger to board a plane if he or she provides a medical certificate relating to this,” Transport Canada spokesman Patrick Charette wrote on Tuesday, noting the department was unaware of any transgendered or transsexual person with a medical document being refused on board since the rules changed.
Charette said the regulations are those of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) used in every country and were amended because they did not previously explicitly require airlines to match what passengers actually looked like with the identification they were using.
New Democrat MP Randal Garrison, the LGBT critic for his party, said the medical exemption solves the immediate problem but is not enough.
“If they’re going to interpret that to cover transgendered people I suppose that’s better than denying them the right to fly, but what’s the problem we’re fixing?” said Garrison, who has written to Transport Minister Denis Lebel for an explanation. “How does it make every person at the gate of an airplane a gender expert? It’s sledgehammer for a flea again.”
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau (Papineau), who drew attention to the issue on Twitter on Tuesday, said there is no need to look at the ‘M’ or ‘F’ on a passport or other government-issued card in the days of photo identification.