Good Luck Landing in Saudi Arabia: Canadians Will Soon be Able to Choose 'X' as Gender on Passports

Good Luck Landing in Saudi Arabia: Canadians Will Soon be Able to Choose 'X' as Gender on Passports

Canadians will soon be able to identify themselves as transgender on their passports under new rules that will come into effect by the end of the month.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said he was making the change so all Canadians can feel safe to be themselves and express their gender as they choose.

"By introducing an 'X' gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step towards advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression," Hussen said in a statement.

Beginning Aug. 31, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will introduce an interim measure to allow people to identify themselves as having a gender that is unspecified.

The federal government did not say what the interim measures would include, but did explain that they will only be in place until the government can print documents with an 'X' instead of an 'M' for male or 'F' for female.

A sex field is mandatory for travel documents under International Civil Aviation Organization rules. ICAO allows one of three markers: F for female, M for male or X for "unspecified."

Of course, this will undoubtably put transgender Canadians at risk if they travel to the wrong country such as Saudi Arabia and other predominantly Islamic countries who imprison and even go as far as killing transgender people. The world is not as inclusive as Canada. 

If travelling to a country that doesn't treat transgender people equally under the law, it remains up to the traveller to review the federal government-issued travel advisories for that region before leaving Canada. 

Travellers beware. 

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