A transgender British comedian says she was humiliated during her detention by Canadian immigration officials at Toronto Pearson International Airport Monday afternoon.
Avery Edison, a 25-year-old comic and writer, flew into Toronto in order to pick up a few of her items and visit her girlfriend. Edison had previously stayed in Canada but overstayed her visa. According to her tweets, she thought a non-refundable return ticket and a copy of her London lease would have been enough to avoid the snafu but admits her predicament was 100% her fault.
Edison was detained for roughly eight hours, according to Toronto Life. During her ordeal, she took to Twitter through the airport's Wi-Fi network to let her followers know what was going on.
So I think I’m in the process of getting denied entry at Toronto airport. So. That’s happening.— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 10, 2014
@McCormCorp I am being detained. I am going to be deemed inadmissable. But first they’re making me wait, and going through all my stuff.— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 10, 2014
At one point, Edison thought she would be sent home but immigration officials instead said her case would have a hearing, meaning she would be detained overnight.
My case is being referred to a hearing. I am being taken to an immigration detention centre. Just been read rights. In washroom crying.— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 11, 2014
At first, Edison's tweets show she was still in good spirits, making jokes via Twitter.
“I have one male for pick-up, and it’s for a wet cell.” - Officer talking to detention centre about me on the phone.— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 11, 2014
“Wet cell” is a fantastic term, by the way. Really let’s the imagination run wild.— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 11, 2014
This should all make for some good stand-up, eh?— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 11, 2014
But when Edison's status as trans woman came up, her tone then changed.
Initial interviewing officer is telling another about my depression, keeps switching he/she. MY PASSPORT IS FEMALE.— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 11, 2014
Congrats to Canada for topping the awful experience I had with US customs asking me about "all your surgeries".— Avery Edison (@aedison) February 11, 2014
Edison was eventually transferred to Maplehurst correctional facility, a men's prison, because of her male genitalia, according to Jezebel.
A study by the Ontario Human Rights Commission states "[transgender] people may be placed with those of the sex with which they do not identify," though there has been a case of a judge recommending that those convicted of a crime as a male but are transitioning to the gender of a female may be placed in a women's correctional facility.
In an interview with Canada.com, Romy Sugden, Edison's partner said she's been in contact with lawyers, Maplehurst officials and the British consulate and that Edison will be kept in isolation from other inmates for her safety.
You can view all of Edison's and Sugden's tweets collected in the Storify below:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that it was Edison who had been in contact with lawyers, Maplehurst officials and the British consulate. The story has since been updated.
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