UPDATED: After being transferred to women’s prison, Avery Edison’s immigration hearing says she can go home

UPDATED: After being transferred to women’s prison, Avery Edison’s immigration hearing says she can go home


Yesterday morning, we reported on the immigration situation of Avery Edison, a British transgender comedian who tweeted her way through hours of detainment at Pearson Airport after flying to Toronto to visit her girlfriend. She was denied entry to Canada due to a lapsed student visa on a previous visit. The story took a dark turn when border officials carted Edison off to an all-male prison in Milton, despite the fact that her UK passport identifies her as female.

The misgendering injustice—combined with the power of Twitter, Storify, Facebook, Disqus, Edison’s sense of humour, her partner’s rightful indignation, and the embarrassment of Canadians—mobilized sympathetic users, and the internet promptly inflamed with fury. 

At 6 p.m. last night, Edison was transferred to an all-female prison. The CBC confirmed with the general duties manager at Maplehurst Correctional Facility that she was moved down the street to the Vanier Centre for Women. Edison is reportedly “doing fine,” according to a shift manager.

Romy Sugden, Edison’s long-time Toronto-based girlfriend, has been keeping the masses up to date on the situation via Edison’s Twitter feed, which has gained tens of thousands of new followers in the past 48 hours. Randall Garrison, the NDP MP for west-coast riding Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, was one of the many high-profile people who picked up on the story and worked to get Edison moved. He was assisted by his Toronto colleague Peggy Nash, the MP for Parkdale-High Park.

Edison’s hearing is scheduled for this morning. In the meantime, Canada’s treatment of transgender people continues to get tried in the court of Twitter. A quick sampling of the #freeavery feed during yesterday’s frenzy shows that there is undoubtedly an appetite for change:

The movement goes live on Saturday, February 15, when hundreds are expected to gather at Queen’s Park for a public rally organized over Facebook.

UPDATE: Avery Edison is going home. After a harrowing ordeal that saw her detained at Pearson for eight hours, misgendered by Canadian authorities, sent to an all-male prison, and then transferred to a all-female prison, the British comedian is set to fly back to London, UK today. Romy Sudgen, Edison’s longtime Toronto girlfriend, tweeted as much yesterday afternoon: