“It was an awkward return to my country and the city that I live in.”
Enza Anderson’s uncomfortable return came at the end of a long corridor in Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Having just got off a long flight from Florida — with two layovers — a bleary-eyed Anderson was looking to make it through customs, grab her bags and get home.
But instead, Anderson got through the long hallway, into a larger reception room, and was greeted with a shrill cry of “He’s a guy!”
Anderson says she made it to Florida and back with only the utmost friendliness from everyone she encountered. She says that even though her passport still carries an “M” where it should have an “F,” she was referred to only as “ma’am” by some “very professional” airport and airline staff.
But her greeter on return back to Canada was jumping up and down — “prancing around,” as Anderson puts it — yelling “He’s a guy!” and pointing as her gaggle of co-workers were “just standing there, gawking.”
That group, who Anderson figures to be in their late teens to early 20s, was supposed to be showing passengers where to go, Anderson says.
A spokesperson for Pearson says Anderson has been asked to file a formal complaint so airport personnel can run an internal investigation and figure out just what happened. The spokesperson couldn’t pinpoint exactly what sort of employees would have been in the arrivals area at the time. Pearson employs greeters — rather, staff tasked with “wayfinding” — but they require security clearance, and the airport spokesperson is skeptical that they could be the “young-looking” culprits Anderson has described.
The spokesperson added that all staff receive sensitivity training, either through the airport authority itself or via their respective employers. The airport maintains an anti-discrimination policy that prohibits discrimination against transgender or transsexual people, she says.
Anderson says that she’ll be filing a complaint with Pearson Airport and that she regrets not speaking out sooner.
There’s always the possibility that the greeter recognized the one-time Toronto mayoral candidate who also ran twice for city council. Anderson’s face once graced the front page of the Toronto Sun – a photo of her kissing then-mayor Mel Lastman. But Anderson doubts that the young employees are anything more than ignorant.
While many trans people face discrimination, insensitivity and sometimes outright hostility while travelling, Anderson says she’s been remarkably lucky in that she’s faced only kindness and respect in her travels — even from the “ex-Marines” who handled her baggage, she notes coyly.
Xtra is following this story.