4.02.2014

An Authentic Canadian Male

Let's be honest, you were expecting a dog.
So after jumping through a bunch of government hoops, getting extra proof that I am who I say I am, trying and sometimes failing to control my frustration I got my passport in the mail. 3 months, $160 a letter from my doctor, and five phone calls with Passport Canada later I hold in my hand a 100% authentic, ten year Canadian passport inside of which has a mugshot of yours truly with the letter M under Sex/Sexe. So is this another victory or not?

On one hand, I am glad that I have my passport and that all the information (that I can see) is correct. I shouldn't have any issues between what my photo identification says and my gender presentation.
On the other I am still really pissed about how I had to go through so many other steps including awkward phone calls about my body and provide "medical documentation to confirm that he/she has undergone a change of sex, and the surgery is complete" even though they do not specify what that surgery is to entail. But at least I didn't have to change my birth certificate.

I am still unclear what the purpose of a passport is. Is it a document that is proof of citizenship or proof of identity? And if it is both then why would they not accept already substantiated identification from other branches of government? Furthermore if the document is intended to provide proof of citizenship then why is sex marked on there at all as it has zero relevance in determining whether I am a Canadian or not...doesn't it? Are transgender people or non-binary gendered individuals any less citizens than cisgender  people? If not, then why do we have to undergo the extra steps to get a passport to validate our citizenship?

I have no idea what the ramifications are of travel nor do I have any idea what information is contained in the contact-less integrated circuit. Has my passport been "tagged" or flagged? Will I be subject to extra scrutiny when traveling? I am terrified of crossing the border into the US and will likely avoid flying into or near the US unless they stop being so crazy paranoid. (Sorry American friends but your government is scary.) I feel like driving may be less of an issue because airports and air travel are still hot beds of fear which result in irrational behaviours.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission may get a phone call from me at some point to see whether or not I have enough grounds to file a complaint against Passport Canada though I'm not sure that will do anything to help me....ever. I have my passport and while I feel like there was still an act of discrimination I am not sure I want to open up a case where every aspect of my life may come under scrutiny. And who knows, maybe we'll be more civilized in 2024 and renewing it will be a breeze!

In the mean time, I'm going to plan my trip abroad and look forward to seeing how things are in a different part of the world. Iceland is really progressive when it comes to sexual orientation and gender so I look forward to experiencing a culture where I'll just be "normal" again.

I'll keep you posted on how things go with air travel in the future now that I have this little black book proclaiming me an "Authentic Canadian Male".


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