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Avery Edison Tells Her Own Story

Trans woman who wound up in a men's prison writes about her ordeal and why she still loves Toronto.

Photo by Pat Dryburgh

Photo by Pat Dryburgh via Flickr.

Three weeks ago, trans comedian Avery Edison was excited to travel to Toronto to visit her girlfriend and the city she called home for more than three years—but when she arrived, the situation quickly went from bad to worse. Edison had overstayed her visa when she was last in the city, a mistake for she which she takes full responsibility. And when it came time to process her through the system, officials referred to her as “him,” although her birth certificate and passport indicate she’s female, and proceeded to send her to a men’s prison because, as Edison tweeted at the time, “they don’t know what to do about my junk.”

After an online uproar, Edison was transferred to a women’s facility and then permitted to leave the country—and now she shares her side of the story on the popular site She Does the City. Edison’s story can be seen as a case study in how bureaucracy fails some individuals, and how institutions struggle to keep up with and understand the spirit of the laws they are meant to uphold—but Edison stresses that while she’ll “have to carry the weight of this incident for the rest of life,” she intends to “use it as ballast for some personal growth.” And despite her recent experiences, her attitude toward Toronto hasn’t changed: “The city didn’t give up on me,” she writes, “so I’m not giving up on it.”

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