Jane Emlyn says female minor hockey players' rights are violated when they're forced to use separate changing rooms.
She's presenting her case to a mediator from the Human Rights Tribunal this morning, facing off against representatives from the B.C. amateur hockey association and the Lumby Minor Hockey Association at the Vernon courthouse.
"There's a lot of girls that play, and I think the majority of them see this as discrimination," Ms. Emlyn said.
According to Al Berg, a member of the B.C. association'- coaching committee, the policy was introduced in January 2001 by Hockey Canada, after a Human Rights Commission mediation session in Ontario. It states players over the age of 11 of different gender are not allowed to change in the same room at the same time. The policy came as a result of increased female participation on integrated teams.
Fourteen-year-old Jewel Emlyn, who plays on the Lumby Stars with two other girls, says being kept out of the changing room before and after games or practice means they miss out on a lot of team camaraderie.
"It's fun in the changing room. You get to talk and socialize with all the kids and talk about the game, and talk about the practices and just discuss hockey. And if you're in a changing room with three people, and there's another team there, it's a little awkward and not fun," she said.
Her mother adds that, while girls are allowed in the room 15 minutes before game time, much of the coaching goes on while players are changing. Female coaches are also banned from the room except during those 15 minutes.
Randy Barton, president of Lumby Minor Hockey, says his association has been fairly relaxed about enforcing the policy. But Ms. Emlyn says she's seen girls forced to change in boiler rooms and storage spaces, sometimes with members of the opposing team.
Ms. Emlyn would prefer shared changing rooms, with a dress code requiring all girls to have a minimum of shorts and T-shirt on, and boys to wear at least boxers. The minority gender would have to leave the room before members of the opposite sex shower.
Unlike this blogger, Ms. Emlyn has never been a 14-year old boy. Equally unlike this blogger, she is completely devoid of common sense. Which is why she probably thinks that matters of high moral principle drive the support of her daughter's teammates quest to share a locker room with the boys.
Ms. Emlyn said most of the youngsters on the team say they're fine with mixed changing rooms, but she has received several anonymous e-mails condemning her petition.
No doubt Ms. Emlyn will win her case. If our governing classes think that gender is irrelevant to the fundamental institutions such as marriage, why should it matter for locker rooms?
And her daughter's complaint sounds not unlike that of homosexuals about marriage--I feel excluded, it hurts my pride to feel left out, and nothing matters more soothing my feelings of exclusion.
Source: Ottawa Citizen (with a hat tip to Warwick )