Lenore Herrem was flying from Calgary to Saskatoon last week, when the agent assisting her appeared “confused” when looking at her ID, which was more than five years old and still had Herrem’s gender marked as “male.”
“[The agent] got upset and said, ‘They don’t match,’ but her colleague said, ‘Yes, they do, it’s fine, go ahead,'” Herrem said. “So I gently and discreetly expressed to her, ‘It’s because I’m transgender, that’s why they don’t match up. But my face is the same and my ID matches the name on my boarding pass,'”
The incident continued once Herrem had boarded her flight. The gate agent followed her on board and, in front of other passengers, demanded to see her ID once again.
“She rolled her eyes at me and said, ’Are you sure it wasn’t your girl name that was on the computer? ‘She outed me in front of the whole airplane.”
WestJet issued a statement to CBC News Canada in response to the incident:
WestJet’s inclusive culture is a point of pride for WestJetters and our goal has always been to create a safe and inclusive environment for all. We have extended our apologies to the guest and are reviewing the matter as we are continuously assessing and evolving our practices and policies to maximize inclusiveness and celebrate diversity.
The airline has stated they are investigating the claims.
Herrem has stated that she felt “unsafe and belittled” by the incident, given that she relies on passing as female in public for her own safety, and that the agent “took that away.”