Boys saying 'me too'

ROCHELLE SQUIRES -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

The Pandora's Box has opened.

At least half a dozen boys have asked for a chance to try out for girls' high school athletic team since the Pasternak twins won their controversial human rights' case last week.

"The ruling has definitely had an impact," said Morris Glimcher, executive director at the Manitoba High School Athletics Association (MHSAA).

Independent adjudicator M. Lynn Harrison ruled last Friday the MHSAA was guilty of gender discrimination when it denied Amy and Jesse Pasternak an opportunity to try out for the boys' hockey team at West Kildonan Collegiate.

In her ruling, Harrison doubted her decision would open the floodgates for boys to start vying for spots on girls' teams. Her ruling only applies to girls wishing to play boys' hockey, she said.

But Glimcher has already talked to six boys who want equal access to girls' teams.

Two boys want to try out for a girls' volleyball team because their school doesn't have a boys' team, another boy wants a spot on the girls' curling team for the same reason, another boy wants to play girls' fastball and two boys who didn't make their high school boys' basketball team want a crack at the girls' team.

"These have all been legitimate inquiries," Glimcher said, noting it's unclear how they will be dealt with.

The MHSAA is considering appealing the ruling and will make a decision within the next two weeks.

"Money is a factor," Glimcher said.

The not-for-profit association was dealt a financial blow when Harrison ordered it to pay each Pasternak twin $3,500 in compensation for loss of dignity and cover the cost of special one-on-one hockey coaching. The MHSAA has hefty legal bills resulting from the challenge.

"We don't receive any government funding," Glimcher said. "The (Manitoba) Human Rights Commission has deep pockets, and it's not costing the Pasternaks any money."

The association may have to raise its membership fees to make ends meet, he added.

ONE-ON-ONE COACHING

"We'd rather be spending money on programming for students and not court cases," he said.

It is still unknown how much the one-on-one coaching will cost the MHSAA and will be determined by the commission, the Pasternak twins, and the male hockey coach at West Kildonan Collegiate, who will provide the coaching assistance.

The twins will learn today if they made the boys' team.

Amy is up against three other goaltenders for two spots on the team and Jesse plays defence.

If they don't make the boys' team they won't play on the girls' team, even though they have that option.

Sarah Lugtig, the lawyer for the commission, isn't sure how the one-on-one coaching by the male coach will benefit the twins if they don't make the team.

"We haven't even discussed that yet," said Lugtig.

Without wading too far into the fray, Premier Gary Doer said he's on side with the testimony given by Lauren Cartwright at the hearing.

Cartwright is the principal at River East Collegiate and testified high school sport is not a level where girls should be competing with boys but rather about involving as many kids as possible in sports.

Speaking from a father's perspective, Doer said he's relieved his daughters are happy to play on girls' teams.

"I have daughters, and they're very happy to try out -- and make, hopefully -- the girls' teams," said Doer.


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