Tansgendered Border Crossings

A friend of mine brought up an interesting issue while discussing the possibility of going to Canada. She is worried that she might have problems at the border due to her appearing female, but her birth certificate, passport, etc. all say male.

Has anyone here had any experience with this? I didn’t think it would be a problem, but hey you never know these days.

Considering that at least one surgeon in Canada does a brisk trade serving the American transsexual population, I doubt that there would be a problem.

Seriously, I’ve known several transpeople who have traveled to Canada and back, and none of them has mentioned having problems with the authorities on this account.

FWIW, I just drove up to Canada two weeks ago. I drove from Lutsen, MN up to Thunder Bay, ON and back (along the North shore of Lake Superior). I was asked how long I’ll be there, what I’m going for, where I’m coming from, fruit/meat, and some other questions. I was never asked for ID going in and leaving Canada. I thought that was really odd.

Meanwhile, there are ways to get your gender on your birth certificate, etc. changed in most states. If your friend is planning on travelling often, this might be a worthwhile thing to look in to.

Is there a picture of her as “her” on the passport, or as “him”? Pictures on the official documents might make it easier to to explain the situation and get by ok.

Another thought - it is (or used to be) common practice for transgendered people who were still transitioning to have a letter from their physician or therapist attesting to this fact. The letter is helpful when one is applying for corrected documentation (driver’s license, passport, birth certificate) or when one is in a situation where one’s appearance may not yet match existing documentation (your friend’s case). Does your friend already have a letter like this? If so, that’s probably all she needs.

Typically the letter says something like, “Ms. X is under my care. She is undergoing a process of gender reorientation leading to sexual reassignment. As part of this process, Ms. X is expected to live and work as a female on a twenty-four hour basis. I request that you provide the bearer of this letter your understanding and assistance with the developmental tasks she is attempting to carry out. Thank you for your assistance. Should you require further information, please contact me.”