Transport Committee upholds gender marker match requirement

The Transport Committee has upheld the gender marker match requirement in the Aeronautics Act which has the potential to ban some or even most transsexual and transgender Canadians from flying.

Although no one has come forward publicly to say that they’ve been denied passage since this went into force, reports from travelers indicate that the lack of problems is likely solely because Section 5.2 (1) 3 (c) of the act is not being enforced by the airlines who’ve been inexplicably given full responsibility for it. Media and many in the public have responded with the attitude that if it hasn’t affected anyone yet, why worry about it?  Expect the enforcement of the Act to change the moment an actual terror event or attempt happens, though.  At the Bay Area Reporter, Gwen Smith talks about this, and why it wasn’t reasonable to wait around until the REAL ID Act caused issues before raising concern, either.

Olivia Chow’s motion to rescind the requirement was voted down on a vote of 6-5.  NDP MPs Jamie Nichols and Mike Sullivan were not in attendance, so they were able to have Randall Garrison and Dany Morin vote in their stead.  Here is how the vote stacked up (audio):

Mark Adler (Cons): no
Ed Holder (Cons): no
Pierre Poilievre (Cons): no
Blake Richards (Cons): no
Lawrence Toet (Cons): no
Jeff Watson (Cons): no
Olivia Chow (NDP): yes
Isabelle Morin (NDP): yes
Randall Garrison (NDP): yes
Dany Morin (NDP): yes
Denis Coderre – (Lib): yes

As the Chair, Merv Tweed only votes in the event of a tie.

Blake Richards is noted for previously having lobbied his constituents from the pages of his riding’s newspaper to oppose Bill C-389, which would have added transsexual and transgender people to the list of protected classes in human rights and hate crimes legislation.  Ed Holder ran a poll regarding trans rights on his website at the same time, but when the result turned out to be overwhelmingly in support, voted no anyway.

Pierre Poilievre previously sought a nationwide ban on governmental health care funding on genital reconstruction surgery after Ontario reinstated funding in 2008, for which he was roundly castigated.

Randall Garrison has reintroduced trans rights legislation — Bill C-279 — which proposes to add gender identity and gender expression to the protected classes in the Canada Human Rights Act and to hate crimes clauses of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Blogger Christin Milloy (who is also thought to be the first trans person to run for government at the provincial level) is calling on trans people to apply for a sex-unspecified Passport (which Canada does not yet have as an available option) in protest, although I’m not sure that would be a fits-all solution, either.

    • Natalie
    • February 10th, 2012

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A non-sex specific marker would be an instant flag for discrimination. Think Jewish Star or Pink Triangle here, or, for a more up to date equivalent, Driving While Black. It only takes one uniformed bully to make you have a really bad day.

    I’d prefer NO gender marker for anyone. It’s not required under international law anyway.

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