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Updated: Tue, 11 Feb 2014 14:00:11 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Transgender woman Avery Edison held in men's jail over visa issue



Avery Edison, a U.K. comedian and trans woman, has been detained in a men's prison. @aedison/Twitter

Avery Edison, a U.K. comedian and trans woman, has been detained in a men's prison. @aedison/Twitter

A 25-year-old transgender woman is being held in a men's prison after issues with her travel status at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

Avery Edison is a citizen of the United Kingdom who stayed in Canada last year beyond the limits of her student visa. She said she came to Toronto on Monday to visit her partner and speak with lawyers about the visa infraction, but was detained at the airport.

She has since been moved to the Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton, Ont. The provincial detention centre is a men-only facility.

Edison tweeted the entire experience at the airport, where she says she was told she "needed to be assessed by a nurse before placed in male or female cell." Both Edison and her partner, who has been working to get Edison transferred, said authorities acknowledged there was a possibility of violence at the men's facility.

Edison, who works as a stand-up comedian, treated the ordeal with a good deal of humour.

Friends, family and a growing swarm of people on Twitter are demanding Edison be moved to a women's facility.

Canadian law states that where a person is detained or imprisoned depends on his or her genitals. Edison's partner said she has since been separated from the general population at Maplehurst, where she spent the night.

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