Trans Woman Live-Tweets Her Appalling Treatment at Canadian Customs


Avery Edison is a 25 year old comedian and writer who lives in London. On Monday, Edison attempted to enter Canada through the Toronto Airport. Because of visa issues, she was denied entry, but not before Canadian immigration gave her the runaround, complicating matters because Edison is a trans woman.

According to Edison’s Twitter feed, she previously lived in Canada on a student visa that she overstayed. Most governments don’t like it very much when people do that, so in order to prove to them that she was just visiting for a few weeks to pick up some stuff, Edison flew into Toronto with a non-refundable ticket for a return flight home and a copy of the lease on her apartment in London. That didn’t convince the authorities; they unsurprisingly detained her for hours. And while Edison admits that the situation was “100%” her fault, what happened next was not her fault – unless you believe that Edison’s status as a pre-operative MTF was something she should be punished for.

As she was somehow allowed to be on her phone, Edison kept tweeting throughout the ordeal. She was first told she’d be put in solitary confinement at a detention center because of her status as a trans woman who hadn’t had surgery, a decision she called “Predictable, but still fucking terrifying.” Eventually, she was told she’d be taken to a woman’s prison. Finally, she was moved to a co-ed correctional facility and told that she would be “assessed by a nurse before placed in male or female cell.”

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the law in Canada surrounding the treatment of incarcerated trans men and women is as follows:

The standing practice appears to be to allow post-operative male to female transsexuals to stay in women’s correctional facilities, and in all other situations, to deal with transgendered individuals on a case by case basis. However, unless full sex reassignment surgery has been undertaken, the individual will be placed in a facility according to his or her birth-assigned gender in a segregated area.

That rule was confirmed by Edison’s partner, who tweeted Tuesday that she was told Edison was taken to co-ed correctional complex Maplehurst but was placed in a men’s facility:

Edison’s partner also said that when she asked a correctional officers “why they were contravening Cdn law by housing a woman in a men’s facility, employee informs me that she was told…has male parts, so male prison. Then referred to Avery as he for the rest of the conversation.”

Visiting hours are this afternoon, so Edison’s partner will be able to see her. Through Twitter, she’s been given the contact information of at least one lawyer and has spoken with the British Consulate, both of whom will hopefully be able to get Edison out of prison, though her visa issues will likely take longer to handle (Edison says she’s ready and willing to fly back to London). No matter her treatment, throughout the ordeal, Edison has demonstrated that she still hasn’t lost her sense of humor:

Images via Avery Edison/Twitter and Philip Tellis/Flickr

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