This model was detained at an airport for being transgender
In disappointing news of the day, a Canadian model named Gigi Gorgeous was detained at a Dubai airport. The reason? She’s trans.
Gorgeous described the harrowing experience on an Instagram post.
“After being detained and held at the Dubai airport for over 5 hours, this was the moment my baby came to rescue me,” she wrote. “Yesterday was one of the scariest moments of my entire life and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. How you can be denied entry somewhere just because of who you are is seriously disgusting and also very scary. This further proves the need for CHANGE. I am now on my way to somewhere much more accepting. Safe and sound and happy. I love you guys.”
According to TMZ (via People), the immigration officer said to Gigi, “I was told you are transgender. You cannot come into the country.” The 24-year-old model, who has worked with Too Faced Cosmetics and collaborated with Miley Cyrus on her #InstaPride campaign, says that her passport has been updated to reflect her transition, although Dubai airport police said otherwise. TMZ also reports that the “imitation of women by men” is illegal in Dubai.
Gigi has been a YouTube vlogger and Internet personality since 2008, before her transition and when she had gone by the name Gregory Gorgeous. A documentary about her transition is scheduled to debut on YouTube Red.
Unfortunately, this kind of injustice has happened to transgender travelers at airports before, including ones in the United States.
Last year, the story of trans woman Shadi Petosky went viral after she was detained by the security at Orlando International Airport. And just last month, Mia “Tu Mutch” Satya, a DNC delegate, was reportedly stopped by TSA workers at Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C. after a body scanner showed a “groin anomaly.”
“This kind of harassment and non-consensual groping is so widespread that when I posted it to Facebook a lot of the comments were ‘How is this any different than what happens to me when I go to the airport?’ And it’s not,” Satya told the Daily News. “The agency has proven itself unwilling to listen to the trans community.”
While we’re glad that Gigi and these women ended up being safe after these incidents, we hope that this awful, discriminatory behavior will someday not be an issue for transgender people who just want to travel.