Ari Bianca, a trans woman, looking to fly from Scotland to Toronto was told she could not board by airline staff.
A tale of two passports.
Ari holds dual citizenship, which allows her to have two passports. One passport is Italian, and one is Argentinian. The issue lies in that her Argentinian passport has the gender marker of female and to travel to Canada as an Argentine she would need a visa. Luckily for Ari she is also an Italian citizen which requires no visa, however her Italian passport is older, the gender marker is male and has a photo of her before she transitioned. This has caused her some issues in the past so she brings supporting documentation with her when she travels. This trip however, was different, she was refused boarding and then took to twitter to tell her story.
“My name is Ari Bianca. I am a dual citizen of the Italian Republic and the Republic of Argentina,” Ari begins. “Today, Air Transat has denied me boarding a flight bound to Toronto, Canada from Glasgow, Scotland.”
“I am a transgender woman. My Italian documentation was made before transition and uses the first name ‘Ariel’, shows an older photo, and a gender marker ‘M’. However, I have used it consistently to travel for the last 8 years, both within Europe, to the United States, and to South America, with no issue. This is the first time I have been denied boarding a flight.”
“I travel with supporting documentation because I have been questioned about my passport photo before. This documentation includes my Argentinean passport with the correct gender (and a recent photo), and a notarized sworn affidavit with a legalized translation. This affidavit is a binding document of the Argentine Republic declaring my change of name from Ariel to Ari Bianca, and declaring my change of gender.”
That visa thing again…
Even with supporting documentation she could not get on the flight.
“I did not apply for a visa because it was not needed with my Italian passport.”
“The Air Transat representative called ‘Emma’, refused to give me her last name but phoned the High commission representative for me. The High Commission representative kindly explained this was a decision made by the airline at their discretion.
“In other words Air Transat made the decision to deny my flight, today, despite my carrying two legal documents, simply because I don’t look the same way as I did 8 years ago, before I began taking hormones.”
“I have not managed to obtain a new Italian passport yet due to the complex nature of gender recognition procedures through Italian bureaucracy. However, this decision is illegal under anti-discrimination UK law; it refuses to accept my legal Italian documentation, thus breaking Canada-Italy travel treaties; and it fails to recognise my sworn affidavit and its connection to my Italian passport as valid.
“All because of a simple photo. A photo which, when provided with supporting documents, has never caused any airlines (Ryanair, American Airlines, British Airways, EasyJet, to name a few) from ever preventing me from boarding a flight. Today, Air Transat has broken the law.”
The whole ordeal has not sat well with people and there has been some backlash accusing Air Transat of not allowing Ari Bianca to travel because she is trans.
The airline responded to tweets it received.
Blogger Aoife O’Riardain is calling on people to voice their outrage and aim it at Air Transat’s twitter account.
“Air Transat want to make this go away. Don’t let them”