Trans Comic Avery Edison Flying Home to U.K. Thursday
Following online uproar, Avery Edison, the transgender comedian who was detained in Toronto over a visa issue on Monday, was transferred to a women's facility. Edison spent one night at Maplehurst Correctional Facility, a location with an all-male population.
According to Romy Sugden, Edison's girlfriend, Edison had been granted a transfer to Vanier Centre for Women Tuesday evening. Sugden has been providing updates on Edison's condition as she's able to obtain them, tweeting from both her account, as well as Edison's.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sugden announced via Twitter that Edison will be flown home to the United Kingdom Thursday evening, and will not be forbidden from visiting Canada in the future. Sugden's tweets said she was "thrilled" about the positive resolution, calling it "the best possible outcome... Apart from being able to take her home & let the visit proceed as planned." Sugden was clear about her priorities once Edison gets home:
— rahrah (@rahrahtempleton) February 12, 2014
In a 2012 report, the National Center for Transgender Equality explained the dangers of trans women being housed in men's prisons or sent to solitary confinement. "In some facilities, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals are housed in separate units," the report reads. "Some people may prefer to be housed this way because they may feel they are safer from being abused by other inmates. However, these units can also pose some risk of further stigmatizing individuals and making them more vulnerable to harassment and abuse by staff." Additionally, one study found that "transgender women in men's prisons were 13 times as likely to be sexually abused as other inmates."
For those safety-based reasons, many began tweeting using the hashtag #FreeAvery in hopes of obtaining a transfer for Edison. Trans women being housed with men in prison remains commonplace, with CeCe McDonald being one of the most high-profile recent examples of a trans woman forced into that type of dangerous situation. After being convicted of manslaughter for the death of a man who attacked her and a group of friends as she walked down the street in Minneapolis, McDonald spent 19 months in a men's prison.