9.29.2013

Passport to Freedom


I haven't travelled outside of Canada for quite some time. I am actually terrified of travelling to the US by airplane and still fearful of crossing the border by car. I have put my hopes of visiting Oregon and Wyoming on hold until the paranoid insanity of the US dissipates, which unfortuneately doesn't seem like it will happen anytime soon.

As a transgendered person international travel has seemed like wishful thinking. I have avoided renewing my passport because I envisioned another humiliating experience of having to explain why my birth certificate and my driver's license have different genders on them. I am tired of trying to justify my reasons for not wanting to change my birth certificate and feel there really is no reason any country needs to know what my genitals look like if I am there as a tourist.

But recently I have been itching to see a little tiny piece of the world called Iceland. I want to go there and celebrate my transition, my independence, and my 40th birthday which is coming up next year. I was prepared to go there by myself and tour the country for a few weeks taking photos and checking a few things off my bucket list.

After an extremely successful summer road trip, my best friend and I decided we need to take more trips. When I told him about my plans to go to Iceland he jumped on board. I was super excited until I remembered I would have to renew my passport. At some point before my next birthday I'll need to get it all sorted out. So the other day I sucked it up and called Passport Canada.

I was totally shocked by their response.

Despite having read all sorts of nightmare stories about the difficulties with getting a passport if you are transgendered, the person I spoke to was extremely helpful and assured me there would be no problem. Provided I write a letter requesting the gender on my passport, and as long as I have government identification that support my gender marker request, I will have no problems attaining a passport with the gender marker I need to safely pass into a country without setting off any red flags or enjoying any complimentary cavity searches.

I happen to have two pieces of government photo ID, my driver's licence and my FAC certificate which both have my gender marked as male. It seems as though Canada really is moving forward with making things easier for transgender people. Yay Canada!

So with that happy news, I will start my application to have a 10 year passport.  Maybe I'll even get out once in a while and see a little more of the world, but I'll start that journey with Iceland next summer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am happy to have read your post. I am also trans and am planning to travel with a gender congruent Passport. I live in Ontario, and I also have 2 pieces of government ID with (in my case) Female on them. Like you, the gender marker on my Birth Certificate is unchanged. Keep us posted regarding the new passport,.. and I'll share how it went for me here :)

All the best,
-Rabbit