We feel that it's important for Transport Canada and the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities to address Section 5.2 (1) (c) of Canada's "Aeronautics Act," which requires that an airline not transport a person unless they "appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents" -- a condition which could be interpreted to prevent some transsexual, transgender and/or intersex people and other gender non-conforming Canadian citizens from air travel.
These revisions require that the gender marker on a person's identification must be deemed to match a subjective assessment of a person's gender, in order for a person to be able to board a plane in Canada. It's premature to call this an outright ban, but with the language of the revised legislation, a ban on air travel is certainly possible, and perhaps even inevitable at some point in time.
While there is an exemption made for medical issues, which would assist transsexed individuals undergoing a medical transition, this exemption currently appears only to resolve the appearance-to-photograph requirement of Section 5.2 (1) (a) -- the gender marker requirement is not specifically mentioned at all, so at the very least the wording is flawed.
Not all transsexual people are able to obtain this kind of documentation, in order to be compliant, if this exemption does indeed allow them to fly. Additionally, many transgender people are not undergoing a medical process, and could be barred from air travel by this wording. People who are visibly intersexed or Canadians who don't identify as trans but are otherwise gender non-conforming could also be singled out.
We understand the necessity of air travel security and screening. We do not, however, understand why a gender marker comparison must be a requirement in order to determine an individual's identity, and why a person whose gender defies stereotypes and expectations (physical or otherwise) should be technically vulnerable to a breach of their Charter right to travel.
July 2011 changes made to the Aeronautics Act:
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