Christin Milloy:

Rise up and seize equality

Motion To Repeal Trans Flight Ban is Defeated by Tories in Committee

Sadly, I must report that this morning’s vote did not go well in the meeting of Parliament’s Transport Committee.

Olivia Chow’s motion to repeal article (c) of paragraph 5.2(1) (the transgender flight ban) was defeated in a vote of 6 to 5.

Members voted along party lines. Here is the breakdown:

  • NO – Adler – Conservative
  • NO – Holder – Cons
  • NO – Poilievre – Cons
  • NO – Richards – Cons
  • NO – Toet – Cons
  • NO – Watson – Cons
  • YES – Chow – NDP
  • YES – I. Morin – NDP
  • YES – Coderre – Liberal
  • YES – Garrison NDP
  • YES – D. Morin NDP

Chair MP Mark Tweed (Cons) would only have been called on to vote in order to break a tie.

Vice Chair MP Jamie Nicholls (NDP) and regular member Mike Sullivan (NDP) did not vote, and MPs Randall Garrison (NDP) and Dany Morin (NDP) are not regular members of the Committee, and yet received a vote anyway. At the time of this writing, the reasons for this are not yet known to me. I will follow with an update. [UPDATE – NDP Committee members Jamie Nicholls and Mike Sullivan voluntarily surrendered their votes to Dany Morin and Randall Garrison.]

In response to the open letter I sent Committee members last night, I received the following response from MP Olivia Chow’s office:

Thank you the message to the Conservative members of the TRAN committee. Maybe you were following today’s meeting via the Parliament’s live stream: sadly, the Conservatives defeated the motion in a recorded vote. But the fight is not over. Olivia Chow and Randall Garrison, the NDP Transport and LGBT critics are discussing the next steps, including a petition to repeal this discriminatory measure.

I also received the following terse response from Conservative MP Ed Holder.

Chris, thank you for sharing your view on this. Ed

Stay tuned—This fight is not yet over.

UPDATE – Randall Garrisson acknowledged the presence at the meeting of trans activists Sophia Cassivi from Gender Mosaic, and Amanda Ryan from Trans Pride. He also cited three examples of stories about trans people affected by the the trans flight ban, or by other travel difficulties due to being transgender, including the story of Jennifer McCreath, which I shared on my blog this week.

One piece of great news that came out of this, Randall Garrison also announced he will introduce a private members bill within the next two months called “Gender Identity and Gender Expression,” which he says will attempt to address the difficulties transgender people have changing their ID!


  1. Thursday, 2012.02.09 at 12:19

    Perhaps what Randall Garrisson will be attempting to do is for Canada to have a similar process to the one that exists in the U.K. The Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) was introduced around 2005. Yes, there are hoops to jump through, but SRS is no linger a prerequisite for one to obtain primary identification with the appropriate gender marker. Once you receive the GRC, you can then get your passport and all other official identification documents.

    Quoting from the website:

    Under the Gender Recognition Act, trans people who experience severe gender variance, and have medical treatment for the condition, may apply to the Gender Recognition Panel(GRP) for a Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC). The GRC then entitles them to recognition of the gender stated on that certificate “for all purposes”.

    Where the person’s birth was originally registered in the UK, the GRC may be used to obtain a new birth certificate. Those seeking a change of gender status must provide the GRP with evidence of a diagnosis of persistent gender dysphoria, and must convince it of their intention to live in the new role for the rest of their lives. This is a paper exercise and does not require the applicant to appear in person. Details of medical treatment and relevant dates are required. Genital surgery is not a requirement, although where it has taken place, applicants must supply details.

    The information

    • Natalie Murray
      Thursday, 2012.02.09 at 17:20

      Part of the problem here isn’t just the lack of proper documentation and gender markers. It is quite possible to have all your paperwork in order, yet all it takes is for some airline gate monkey to bar you at the boarding gate based on a cursory inspection and equally hasty and arbitrary decision that you don’t look like what your gender marker says. A GRC, which is something I need to get for myself, (as I’m British by birth), will not solve this. What it will do is be an instant flag for discrimination in the wrong hands.

      I transitioned at a later age, so I didn’t transition nearly as well as someone who transitions even a decade younger than I. As a result, no matter how hard I try, I still frequently get read as male–it happened to me twice in the space of a half hour at a luncheon in a pub today. So I’m not exactly looking forward to hopping on a plane twice tomorrow. With everything now in a spotlight, will I suddenly become an unwitting test case?

      • Christin
        Thursday, 2012.02.09 at 18:21

        If you do, contact me immediately. I will fight for you and personally bring your case to our MPs.

        • Natalie Murray
          Thursday, 2012.02.09 at 21:05

          If I do, it’ll be all up and down Facebook, Twitter and my Chain of Command, which could make things seriously interesting.

  2. Stephanie
    Thursday, 2012.02.09 at 17:06

    Thanks for the good work, Chris.

    I would like to draw your and readers’ attention to another aspect which may affect some trans folk who live in Canada but are foreign nationals. It is not article 5.2(1) (c) of the Identity Screening Regulations which is the culprit here, but article (d).

    I change the name and sex marker on my UK passport in September. So I have F on my UK passport. But Immigration Canada would not change the gender marker on my study permit (although they did agree to change my name) as Canada requires documentation of performer/planned surgery for the change to be effected.

    So I am left with a passport and study permit with discrepant gender markers (still M on my study permit). The above mentioned article (d) states that persons presenting two pieces of ID with different gender markers cannot travel. This indicates that trans people who are also nationals of a country with a more liberal policy in these matters may suffer additional discrimination due to the regulations of the Transport Ministry.

    I am travelling from Canada to the US on Wednesday for a conference. Wish me luck!

  3. Laura Catherine
    Thursday, 2012.02.09 at 22:23

    I’m sorry the vote went this way. I really thought that once it was brought up the govt would see how wrong it is. I guess I’m just still too naive.

    Laura <3

  4. Natalie Murray
    Friday, 2012.02.10 at 00:27

    That is, indeed, wonderful news re: Garrison’s possible private member’s bill. But it won’t solve the problem completely. People like me will still get read at the gate by some airline drone, even though my gender markers are ‘in order’, whatever that means. So will cisgen people who don’t happen to conform to whatever arbitrary means is determined by said airline drone.

  5. Sunday, 2012.02.12 at 03:34

    it’s unfortunate to see how much of a factor this regulation has. now most trans people are afraid to travel…. adding yet another burden to our already challenging lives. all we can do is keep raising the issue and keep exposing the feds for their discriminatory policies.

  6. melinda
    Sunday, 2012.02.12 at 11:40

    Ooo Canada, who is proud of its human rights, could be so closed minded and shallow. Canada allows same sex marriage, as a matter of fact, It allows anyone to marry whomever they love. What the hell is going on there? There should be some morons in charge who are conservative nuts trying to take over the country. That is double standards and bigotry. IT IS DISCRIMINATION!!!!

  7. Saturday, 2012.02.25 at 14:57

    Thank you Christin for continuing to post on this unfair airline regulation. It is saddening that the Conservatives appear to have voted along party lines just so the could “win”. A person with a conscience (and some intelligence) would realize the the rule helps no-one and only hurts people.
    I’m in transition and plan to fly into the US later this year. I’d like to know this rule had been corrected well before then.
    Also I have read rumours that Passport Canada will issue a temporary passport to trans people who have a doctor’s letter saying they will have SRS within 12 months. I have a letter but I don’t know what to do next. Does anyone know how to get one of these Passports?
    All the best, ~Sheelagh

    • Christin Scarlett Milloy
      Sunday, 2012.02.26 at 01:05

      The process to get a limited validity, temporary passport with your proper sex designation is actually hidden. They do offer a special form for it, but not on their website, only in person at their offices. But here’s the kicker; they don’t actually educate all their staff that it exists, so it can be tricky to get because a lot of the Service Canada personnel you meet might not even know what you’re asking for (but it DOES exist, don’t let them tell you it doesn’t).

      I was going to give you a link to what the form is called and how to find it, but I’ve just looked online and I can’t even locate it!! This is a problem. I think I’m going to do a blog post about it.

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Christin Milloy