OMHA mandates that all coaches have a pre-season chat with their team surrounding Gender Diversity. When we look deeper into this topic what we really find is that we as an organization want to promote equality, fairness and openness to differences, be it gender, religion or any other beliefs or differences that someone playing hockey at EMHA feel are important. We want to ensure that it is a requirement of all our members to be respectful of all participants, regardless of their race, religion, sex, gender and the other grounds included in the Ontario Human Rights code.
It is important that the information from the OHA Gender Diversity programming be passed on to the parents and players of EMHA so that we can create a safe and inclusive environment for each coming season. Because of that we have a few points to share with each of you. Please read the following and review with your family, teams and players. If you feel you would like more information on this topic please feel free to contact the EMHA President for more resources about this topic from OMHA/OHF.
The standard of respect in Hockey means that it is everyone’s right to be respected and treated equally and to enjoy an environment at hockey that is free from discrimination and harassment. Those rights and responsibilities must go hand in hand and therefore it is also everyone’s responsibility to do their part to help create a discrimination and harassment free environment. This means treating everyone with respect.
It is everyone’s right to define and express their gender without fear of being discriminated against or harassed. This means that everyone has the right to be referred to by the name and gender pronoun they request and the right to use the washroom or dressing room (or any other gender-specific space) where they feel most comfortable. Therefore, failing to respect someone’s gender pronouns repeatedly, bullying or making inappropriate comments about the way someone identifies or expresses gender, or doing anything to make gendered washrooms or dressing rooms unsafe, inaccessible spaces, are all examples of discrimination because of gender identity and/or expression. Everyone is responsible for holding themselves and one another accountable to this standard of respect and therefore it works in all directions, which means staff and volunteers also have these rights and responsibilities.
Sometimes, despite positive efforts to make all aspects of hockey safe, equitable and accessible for everyone regardless of gender identity or expression some people continue to face barriers to participating fully and equally in hockey. If they face any unresolved barriers to participating fully and equally in hockey because of one of those protected grounds mentioned earlier, they have the right to be provided with a special arrangement that will help them participate more fully. These special arrangements are called “accommodations” and members need to feel comfortable asking for such accommodations as needed. With the right to be accommodated also comes a responsibility. Players need to know that if they experience an unresolved obstacle that prevents them from participating fully in hockey because of one of those protected grounds, that they have the responsibility to send a written accommodation request to the EMHA and to work together with the EMHA in coming up with an appropriate and reasonable accommodation that resolves their need.
We must also make it clear to players that if someone has confided in them with personal or sensitive information about gender identity, whether they are seeking support about a struggle they are having or sharing their plans to come out, that it is important to make sure they know exactly what that person wants to keep private, to whom and what they do want others to know. Outing (sharing information about someone’s gender identity) without their consent is also an example of discrimination. We must emphasize the importance of respecting confidentiality as an important part of honouring the standard of respect as discussed earlier.
Overall it is everyone’s right and responsibility to ask for support/ assistance from the EMHA if they experience discrimination to the best of their ability.
Elmvale Minor Hockey Association