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Canadian Hockey Opens Doors for Young Trans Players

Canadian Hockey Opens Doors for Young Trans Players


The governing body for amateur hockey in Canada has made its policies more welcoming for transgender players.

Hockey Canada, the governing body for amateur ice and sledge hockey in Canada, has amended its policy toward transgender youth athletes following a complaint filed last year, the Canadian Press reports.

According to the new agreement, transgender players may use the dressing room corresponding to their gender identity, and Hockey Canada will encourage education in trans sensitivity for trainers and coaches.

The new policy applies to any minor playing under Hockey Canada in Ontario. The policy is intended to discourage discrimination against transgender players by ensuring they be addressed by their preferred name and preferred pronoun. Hockey Canada will provide amended policy information throughout the organization.

Seventeen-year-old Jesse Thompson of Oshawa, Ont., filed the initial complaint last August after he was kicked out of the boys' dressing room by one of his coaches. "I'm just a boy. I'm just like any other kid out there growing up. I'm just a teenager," Thompson told the Canadian Press. "[But] once you get to a certain age, you are forced off into a different room, or basically a closet -- sometimes they didn't even have change rooms for girls."

Patrick Burke, cofounder of You Can Play, commended Thompson for speaking up. "His courage will allow transgender hockey players to feel welcome and supported in their locker rooms," Burke said in a statement. "Hockey is a game meant for everyone and we are excited for the day when all LGBT athletes feel secure in their ability to live their lives openly."

Thompson added, "I just hope that kids can see this and know that they don't have to hide anymore. They can come out and play their sport that they love, and they don't have to stop playing it just because of how they are or who they are."

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