Front page of the Windsor Star today:
Casey Froese (age 11) is a minor hockey player in Windsor, Ontario. Recently it was discovered that she’s been suiting up all season in the boys’ (ages 9-10) locker room. Since then, she’s been told to suit up somewhere separate from the boys. Glenn Froese, her father, says this is sex discrimination and that she has a right to suit up with the boys.
The Windsor Minor Hockey Association Bylaw says that girls aren’t allowed in dressing rooms until 10 mins before game time. After games, girls have to leave the room before players remove equipment.
Dad brings up issues of of team bonding and how important it is that the players stay together. All the kids wear shorts and tshirts underneath (though this is not mandatory), that no one is showering or getting naked (although they could). From this angle, it seems like the question to ask is “what’s the harm?”
Well Mr. Froese, I agree with you. I think it would be great if everyone could get changed together and that gender didn’t matter. I think it would be great if everyone could just be team players and if no one cared whether you were girl or boy, gay or straight, cisgender or transgender, or every other possibility. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew for certain that everyone would be safe no matter where they went or what they wanted to do, regardless of their gender, sex, religion, skin colour, ethnicity, class, ability, etc? Wouldn’t it be great if 50% of women in Canada weren’t victims of physical or sexual violence at some point in their life (StatsCan)?
But we know that’s not the case. We know that women are victims of violence on much too frequent a basis. We’re talking about your daughter. She has a one in four chance of being a victim of sexual violence (Stats Can). You are gambling with the chances of whether or not she’ll be safe here. You think yes. Others say no. Can you guarantee that your daughter and every other girl will be safe at all times? You hope so but can you guarantee it?
How about we take all the kids out of the boys locker room. Have them change in the lobby. Or create a gender-neutral change room. As long as girls are in the boys’ room, the boys have the power. And I don’t think we’ve made that much progress yet. Maybe someday, but not yet.