February 11, 2014 Pride Toronto letter to Public Safety Minister concerning detention of Avery Edison
11 February 2014
The Honourable Steven Blaney
Minister of Public Safety
House of Commons
It has come to our attention through media reports that Avery Edison, a visitor to Canada, has been detained by Canadian Border Agency officials at Pearson International Airport.
We are concerned about reports that Avery, a trans woman, has been not only misgendered by CBA personnel, but has been taken to an all-male prison, despite self-identifying as female and carrying travel documents that identify her as female as well.
Minister, this treatment is outrageous and unacceptable. We urge you to:
- Investigate this matter without delay and ensure that Avery's human rights as a trans individual are respected by CBA personnel
- Ensure that proper training is in place for CBA personnel so that behaviour like this is not repeated.
We look forward to the swift passage of Bill C-279, currently before the Senate, which would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender identity as a prohibited ground of discrimination.
In the meantime, nothing should prevent the Canadian Border Agency from adopting best practices in their treatment of trans people. It is urgent that they do so. Every day, trans people face discrimination and uncertainty about how they will be treated at the border, and we call on it to end.
Shelley Craig and Sean Hillier
Pride Toronto Co-Chairs