A transgender Canadian woman traveling from Calgary to Saskatoon told CBC News that she was “outed” to the other passengers by a WestJet gate agent.
Lenore Herrem says that when she presented her ID at the gate for her flight, the agent became “upset and confused.”
While Herrem presents as female, her five-year-old ID lists her as male.
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"She got upset and said, 'They don't match,' but her colleague said, 'Yes, they do, it's fine, go ahead,'" Herrem said as she described the agent's reaction.
"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.'"
Herrem boarded the plane and was settled in her seat for about 10 minutes when she said both gate agents boarded the flight, and the agent who had been confused once again demanded her ID.
"She said something like, 'Oh, that's not the name I remember seeing on the computer when I looked at it,' and she started spouting off different, other women's names that were not mine," Herrem recalled.
"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."
Herrem says the experience left her feeling “unsafe, vulnerable, belittled.”
"I was in shock, it was quite traumatizing having someone, especially the way she did it so loudly and in front of everyone, it was really unprofessional,” she added.
In an email, WestJet apologized for the incident writing, "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."
Herrem says she was “pleased with the way” the airline dealt with the incident.
“She expressed that they will be implementing training to staff to deal with these sort of situations better in the future which was the most important thing for me to hear," Herrem added.