TORONTO, February 12, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A British man identifying as a woman who was sent to a men's prison outside Toronto for an immigration infraction has been transferred to a neighboring jail for women.
British citizen Avery Edison, whose passport identifies him as a woman, was detained Monday at Pearson International Airport when he tried to enter Canada illegally.
Canadian Border Services officers found that on an earlier stay in Canada Edison had violated the time limit of his student visa, which reportedly had him listed as a male.
While awaiting transfer from detention at Pearson Airport, Edison used Twitter to give his girlfriend Romy Sugden a running commentary on his situation. He tweeted that despite his passport listing him as a female, the security officials sent him to Maplehurst Correctional Complex, a men’s facility in Milton, to await a hearing.
“Will be moved, soon, to Maplehurst correctional facility and assessed by a nurse before being placed in male or female cell. Literally going to jail. Actual jail. Because they don’t know what to do about my junk,” Edison tweeted.
Sugden told Canada.com Edison had tweeted that officials had told him, regardless of him being dressed as a woman, “male genitals equals male prison and it doesn’t matter.”
“Speaking with the officials at the prison was a very upsetting and fruitless experience,” Sugden told Sun News. “They refused to refer to Avery as anything but ‘he' or ‘him.' They told me because ‘his' genitals were male, ‘he' would be in a men's prison. That was Ontario law.”
The Ontario Human Rights Commission's policy on the topic states: “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.”
Despite this guideline, the biologically masculine Edison was transferred to the neighboring Vanier Centre for Women in Milton last night where he awaited an immigration hearing that was scheduled for this morning. News of the outcome of the hearing has not yet been released.
Sugden said a prison manager told her Edison is being kept out of the jail’s general population.
“I’m sure you can understand what would happen to her,” Sugden told Sun News. “I think they recognize they don’t want to have a killed or badly beaten transgender woman on their hands. They have enough PR savvy for that at least.”
While Edison seems to have gotten his way in being transferred to a woman's jail, his segregation from the other women in the Vanier Centre for Women may also be for the protection of the female inmates.
In December The Courier and other British media reported that a physically male transsexual jailed in a women's prison in Scotland was transferred to another prison after female inmates complained he was having sex with some of the women.
Paris Green, who used to be known as Peter Laing had been involved in casual sexual relationships with other convicts at Cornton Vale prison and was then moved to a special section of Saughton prison in Edinburgh after the allegations came to light.