2016-SEP: Jesse Thompson files
Jesse Thompson at the approximate age of 15, moved to a new high school in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, and signed up for hockey. He said:
"Hockey for me was a way to escape what was actually going on -- school, personal stuff. Then that started causing me more problems, too. ... I wanted to quit because everyone thought of me as the little sister of the team, because they knew I was a girl because I wasn’t allowed to change with them. I didn’t want to play anymore. ... I didn’t want people to think about me being transgendered [sic], 1 I just wanted to be Jesse the guy. But then I realized I had to let people know that someone was standing up for them." 2
Ontario's minor hockey league rules required players who were 11 and older to change in separate rooms, on the basis of their anatomical sex. He was required to change in the girls' locker room. His teammates became aware that Jesse was transgender. This led to continual harassment and bullying. 3
During 2013, He filed a human-rights complaint with the Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal. The case was settled in his favor during 2014. Over the following two years, the Ontario branch of Hockey Canada developed new rules and now state that transgender players:
- Can use the dressing room that corresponds to their gender identity.
- Are to be referred to by their preferred personal pronoun and name.
- Are to have their transgender status kept confidential.
Member organizations of Hockey Canada in Ontario have agreed to educate their more than 30,000 coaches and trainers on transgender inclusiveness by 2017.
Included in the Hockey Canada statement was a comment by Thompson:
"I'm really happy that moving forward, trans kids will be able to fully participate with their hockey teams. For me, when I was on the ice with my team, nothing else mattered. Hockey Canada is iconic and globally known and I hope other organizations will follow their example." 4
Thompson reacted to the change, saying:
"I’m feeling really good. It’s going to take a while to see that change is actually happening, but eventually it’s going to get to the point that transgendered kids are going to be playing sports more. ... A lot of us quit because we start to feel uncomfortable and not accepted anymore."
Renu Mandhane, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, complemented Thompson, saying:
"He took an experience that I think at the time was quite upsetting to him, and saw that it could really be something that could really make a change for the next generation of hockey players. ... Sports can be a real driver for inclusion, it can be a moment where other kids meet a trans kid or meet somebody who may be different from them and we don’t want there to be barriers to that happening."
There are nine additional provinces and three territories in Canada, many of which have affiliates of Hockey Canada, and which have not yet implemented rules similar to those developed by the Ontario branch.
Lisa Dornan, a spokesperson for Hockey Canada, said:
"This has not been tabled by our members for discussion at a national level. Hockey is a sport for everyone, and Hockey Canada strongly advocates the game as inclusive and welcoming of all athletes. Hockey Canada supported the Ontario branches through the process with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, including the development of the policies, which are now being rolled out with new eLearning modules intended to be available this season for Ontario coaches and trainers."
Other provincial, and national hockey leagues across North America are modifying their rules to accommodate transgender players.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Jesse was registered as a girl on his birth certificate and now identifies asa male. The word "transgendered" is now rarely used. It has been replaced by a phrase like "transgender person."
- Wendy Gillis, "Rights fight prompts new trans-inclusive rules for Ontario hockey," Toronto Star, 2016-SEP-07, at: https://www.thestar.com/
- "Transgender policies for Ontario hockey dressing rooms launch this season," MetroNews Canada, 2016-SEP-07, at: http://www.metronews.ca/
- "Transgender dressing rooms policy set for Ontario juniors," Associated Press, 2016-SEP-07, at: http://bigstory.ap.org/
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Copyright © 2016 & 2017by Ontario Consultants on
Original posting: 2016-SEP-08
Latest update : 2017-NOV-22
Author: B.A. Robinson