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Social Issues
Transgender Comedian Avery Edison Is Being Held In A Men’s Prison Near Toronto
February 11, 2014
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On Monday, comedian Avery Edison was detained at Pearson Airport in Toronto. The U.K. citizen had overstayed a student visa last year, and left the country voluntarily in September, but tried, unsuccessfully, to return yesterday.

Edison planned to stay in Toronto for three weeks to visit her partner, Romy Sugden.

She was denied entry on landing due to her visa issues and...that's where things took a turn for the worse.

After seven hours in detention at Pearson — much of which she live tweeted to her 11,000 followers — she was transferred to Maplehurst Correctional Complex, a men's detention facility in Milton, Ontario. And here's the problem: Edison is transgender. She lives and identifies as a woman, and is listed as female on her British passport.

Despite the gender listed on official documents, Edison was effectively treated as male.

In Ontario, decisions about where to detain transgender people are made on a case-by-case basis, but often come down to anatomy. "The law is pretty clear in that it’s based purely on the anatomy, and particularly the genitals, of the person being housed,” Kyle Kirkup, a lawyer who specializes in LGBTQ issues, told

As Edison put it yesterday, during the whole ordeal:

And then:

Though by Edison's own admission, the fact of her detention is not up for argument:

This morning, Sudgen updated the case on her own Twitter account, after getting in touch with someone at the correctional facility: 

Sugden has visited Maplehurst, and Edison is reportedly safe and in segregation in the men's facility.

Update: On Tuesday night, Edison was moved to the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton.


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