Canadian immigration officials caused outrage earlier this week when they placed a woman in a men’s prison. When stated that way, their action is simply incomprehensible. Yet that is what Avery Edison is – a woman. Her British passport confirmed that fact.
Last week TV chat show host Piers Morgan asked a woman about when she decided to change her name and about intimate surgeries. In that television interview, he repeatedly referred to her as becoming a woman, but not in the Simone de Beauvoir way. Lest Piers takes offence again, it’s worth pointing out his interview of Janet Mock simply followed a standard media narrative, supportive in bits, sadly stereotypical in others.
Somehow, adding trans as a descriptor seems to make these actions into a matter of debate. One Toronto paper even had a poll on whether it was right to put Edison into a men’s prison, as if her identity was up for grabs.
But trans is simply that – a descriptor. It doesn’t completely define anyone. After all, Edison has many other adjectives that could be used to describe her – dark-haired, British, white. But it’s the trans descriptor alone that seems to add some credence to the bone-headed imprisonment policy, and insensitive questions on major television shows.