Hockey mum wants co-ed locker room
Last updated Jul 12 2005 01:57 PM PDT
CBC News
A B.C. mother is demanding that her 14-year-old daughter be allowed to change in the same locker room as the boys on her co-ed hockey team, and has taken the issue to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

Jane Emlyn and her daughter Jewel

Minor hockey league policy is B.C. dictates that there be separate dressing room for boys and girls once they turn 11.

But Jane Emlyn and her daughter Jewel, who live in the north Okanagan community of Lumby, says that's discrimination.

"It's their right to be in the change room. It's not a privilege, And I feel that if they can play hockey then they should be exposed to all the opportunities that minor hockey players have," says Jane Emlyn.

Jewel plays defence for the Lumby Stars. The team is co-ed, but most of the players are teenage boys.

She is only allowed in the male change room 15 minutes before game time. She says she feels like a "second-class player" because of that restriction.

"People shouldn't be making a big deal whether they're changing in a different dressing room, changing in the same dressing room. We should all just be able to play hockey and have fun, you know in the same dressing room, right?"

The Emlyns say the solution is shared change rooms with a dress code. And that when it comes time to shower, they say the minority gender would have to leave the room.

Minor hockey coach Bob McCuaig coached a Lower Mainland team of 14 to 16 year olds last season a team that included one girl.

He says separate change rooms have nothing to do with discrimination, and everything to do with avoiding the possibility of harassment.

"In order to have a safe environment for everybody, where they are not going to feel threatened I would rather have a girl feel a little bit left out than threatened by, 'I have to change in the room with guys.'"

A decision by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is expected next week