Transgender comedian Avery Edison held at Toronto airport, tweets her way through

Transgender comedian Avery Edison held at Toronto airport, tweets her way through


At 5:23 p.m. yesterday, British comedian Avery Edison was detained at Pearson International Airport after flying to Toronto to visit her girlfriend. On its face, this was a routine detainment—she reports that she was prevented from coming into Canada because she had overstayed her student visa on a previous visit—but thanks to the magic combination of Twitter, Pearson’s free wifi and Edison’s wit, the situation resulted in an eight-hour tweet-a-thon detailing every twist and turn of the case.

[RELATED: For the developments following this story, please read our new post “Update on Avery Edison: UK comedian transferred to women’s prison after massive internet uproar”]

Edison’s play-by-play reporting provides some interesting insights into a process few people experience. It’s in turn funny, sad, Kafkaesque and weird.

The most interesting element of the narrative involves Canadian border-control officers trying to handle the fact that Edison is transgender. According to her Twitter feed, Edison’s case was referred to a hearing, and she was kept at the airport until arrangements could be made—only security personnel were unsure where to hold her.

After hours of tweeting, waiting and getting an outpouring of support from Twitter users, Edison was transferred to Maplehurst Correctional Complex—a men’s only facility—in Milton at 1:42 a.m. There, she was told, she’d be examined by a medical officer in order to determine if she’d get a male or female cell.

The entire tale was posted in a series of tweets on Storify this morning, thanks to Torontonian Jason Sweeney. You can read the whole saga here.

UPDATE: It is now confirmed that Avery Edison has been taken to an all-male prison, despite self-identifying as female. Her partner, Twitter user Rahrah (@rahrahtempleton), is attempting to contact Edison and has learned the reason that authorities opted to take her to a men’s jail.

This story continues to develop, and you can follow the latest news—including Edison’s transfer to a women’s prison—here.