Discrimination shouldn’t be part of airport screeningEditorial & Opinion Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
By Rémy Legé-Jovian
Big Brother has moved in.
Over the past 10 years, air travel security has slowly tightened the noose, sometimes without us even noticing.
In August of 2011, the Canadian Aeronautics Act made modifications to its protocol, which somehow eluded Parliament for overview. You might not get on your flight if you’re not girly or manly enough.
Under this new act, it is stated “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.”
The major concern with the new regulations is the obvious difficulties it imposes on the transgender community and its reliance of personal judgment on behalf of the screener.
I would like to think these regulations were put in place because of our increased paranoia and not an attempt to segregate the transgender and transsexual community. You would think that in this day and age, in a country that we would all like to consider “open-minded,” it would find a better way to deal with its fear.
In its current state, this regulation greatly impacts transgender and transsexual people who wish to fly. The sex on the passport can be changed permanently only if gender reassignment surgery has occurred or will be in the coming year. A two-year temporary passport is also an option if proof of reassignment surgery is presented.
It’s really time for our country to stop hammering down and trying to bury minorities. There must be a better way to keep us safe and yet still have people retain their right of freedom of expression. The rules are simply too constraining to allow proper and comfortable travel for the people who are affected by such regulations.
I understand that some level of scrutiny is needed; however this type of screening is not effective. The simple fact that the screening process is dependent on the screener determining whether you look masculine or feminine enough allows too many people to be caught in the crossfire. What if you’re a woman and just have masculine features? What if you like wearing big, comfy, baggy clothes? What about the woman who wears her niqab or hijab; will she be turned away too? Could it go as far as simply not liking your face?
A step in the right direction might be to add a third, non-specific-gender option for transgender and transsexuals. A note from a doctor or psychologist confirming the lifestyle choice of the individual would work just as well too.
We have to get over this hyper-paranoia and stop persecuting the people caught in the crossfire in the name of security.
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