In The News

CAAWS Response to CAS Ruling

May 2, 2019 – CCES, CAAWS and AthletesCAN Very Concerned with the CAS Ruling on IAAF’s Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification.

Canada’s sport and science minister slams ruling on Caster Semenya

May 1, 2019 - Canada’s sport and science minister was critical of an international decision that will force female athletes with unusually high levels of testosterone to medicate themselves to compete.

Canada Winter Games using new gender inclusion policy at 2019 event
February 18, 2019 – Athletes at the Canada Winter Games can live and compete as the gender they identify with. It’s another groundbreaking initiative for a Canadian multi-sport event that prides itself on being ahead of the curve.

Caster Semenya appeal case mixes science, sport, gender politics
February 14, 2019 – Caster Semenya’s running future will be decided by three judges starting next week in a landmark case that will challenge science and gender politics. The two-time Olympic 800-meter champion from South Africa is looking to overturn eligibility rules for hyperandrogenic athletes proposed by track and field’s governing body. The IAAF wants to require women with naturally elevated testosterone to lower their levels by medication before being allowed to compete in world-class races from 400 meters to one mile.

‘This is about inclusiveness and respect’: Ontario minor hockey players to get talks on gender identity
August 24, 2018 – Before they polish their power plays and develop their defensive strategies, minor hockey players in Ontario will be getting a pre-season chat about gender identity and gender expression next month. The Ontario Hockey Federation has made it mandatory for its coaches to discuss the issues with players in an effort to make everyone feel welcome.

LGBTQ+-PHOBIA: A Gendered Perspective
May 2018 – A presentation at Egale Canada’s inaugural LGBTQI2S Identities Conference held May 23-25, 2018 in Toronto by Jennifer Birch-Jones, CAAWS Program Lead for LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport collaboration with Guylaine Demers (Laval) and Camille Michon (Laval). The presentation focuses on LGBTQI2S inclusion in sport using a gender-based analysis lens, reflecting the latest Canadian research and including recommended actions sport organizations can take. Download the Presentation. (.pdf)

LGBTQ Youth Athletes Should ‘Play Proud’
June 12, 2018 – Whether you call it soccer, football, or “the beautiful game,” it’s a global phenomenon. Play Proud is a vital new initiative from Streetfootballworld USA designed to protect some of soccer’s most vulnerable players, and June is Pride Month.

The question of gender in sport: Are you woman enough?
Are you woman enough? This is the question that has been repeatedly asked of Caster Semenya ever since, in 2009, at the age of 18, she blew away the competition to win gold at the World Championships in Berlin. Semenya was born and raised a woman but the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) dictate their own set of criteria for who is female enough for their women’s competitions. So Semenya faced a choice: undergo medically unnecessary hormone treatment, or give up the career she loves. It is an ultimatum that no other woman, in any walk of life, would face.

2018 IDAHO BLOG – Leading the Way: Working with LGBTQI2S Athletes and Coaches.
by Jennifer Birch-Jones, CAAWS Program Lead for LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion.
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is held annually on May 17th to celebrate sexual and gender diversity. This year’s global theme is “Alliances for Solidarity” which is appropriate for our work in Canada to make sport more welcoming for those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer or questioning, intersex and two spirited (LGBTQI2S).

New testosterone rules for athletes discriminatory, Ottawa group says
New rules that would prevent female athletes with high natural testosterone levels from running middle-distance races for women are discriminatory, says an Ottawa-based sports and ethics organization.

Opposition to IAAF Classification Regulations
The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the CAAWS are speaking out against the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) new Eligibility Regulations for the Female Classification that pertains to athletes with differences of sex development.

Pride House Founder to Receive IGLTA’s Pioneer Award
“We are excited to celebrate Dean Nelson, who developed a way to champion diversity through major international sports events such as the Olympic Games, an event that touches lives around the world.” said Juan Julià, IGLTA Board Chair.

Softball coach calls out league policy on transgender players, sparks national response
An Edmonton softball coach who raised red flags about his amateur league’s approach to transgender players has prompted policy reviews at the sport’s highest levels in Canada.

Jury slams Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth with $3.74 million judgment for firing lesbian coach
March 16, 2018 – Miller sued the school after she was fired following a very successful 16 years there. Miller, along with her wife and then-fired UMD softball coach Jen Banford, claimed the firing was the result of discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation and age. The Federal jury agreed.

Gay at the Games: How Canada is hosting Pride House, a safe space for LGBT athletes at the Olympics
There are 13 out and proud LGBT athletes at the Winter Olympics, out of more than 3,000 competitors. While that number may seem low, it’s almost double the number who were out at Sochi — seven. “I promise, for every athlete that’s out, there’s at least one or two that aren’t,” said Mark Tewksbury, a Canadian swimmer who won Olympic gold in 1992, and later came out as gay.

Canada Olympic House will be a home to Pride House
COC is proud to announce that for the first time ever, Pride House will be directly affiliated and hosted by a National Olympic Committee. Canada Olympic House (COH) will be a home to Pride House during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. This represents a unique partnership between the COC and Pride House International (PHI) to celebrate, on a more meaningful scale than ever before, our shared values of inclusion, diversity, and respect.

CWHL’s first transgender woman finds comfort, confidence in professional hockey
Jessica Platt learned to skate in a backyard ice rink her family built in a neighbor’s yard. Today, she plays for the Toronto Furies, a Canadian Women’s Hockey League team. “I’m hoping I can help other trans people and trans athletes know that they can achieve their dreams,” Platt said. “Even if one person is inspired or helped, then I feel like I succeeded at something.”

CAAWS Leading the Way Webinar – Latest Research and Promising Practices and Resources for LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport
Join CAAWS’ Jennifer Birch-Jones and Egale Action’s Guylaine Demers to discuss Guylaine’s current research on the sport experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes and the implications for sport organizations. Promising practices, new resources and initiatives underway on LGBTQI2S inclusion in sport will also be shared.
Listen to our latest webinar, February 15th, 2018
Download the February 15th, 2018 webinar slides (.pdf)

Écouter notre dernier webinaire, le 13 février 2018.
Télécharger Les diapositives de cet atelier – le 13 février 2018. (.pdf)

COC Summit on LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport
Jennifer Birch-Jones, the CAAWS Program Lead for LGBTQI2S Inclusion in Sport, was recently a guest panelist at the Canadian Olympic Committee’s half-day workshop on LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Diversity on November 25th in Calgary as part of their annual meeting. Moderated by Dr. Guylaine Demers (Laval University) and Dr. William Bridel (Calgary University), the panel highlighted work Jennifer is leading as part of the LGBTQI2S Sport Inclusion Task Force’s (SITF) NSO Pilot Project with Gymnastics Canada and out Olympians Rosie Cossar (Rhythmic Gymnastics) and Kris Burley (Artistic Gymnastics) to make their sport more welcoming to LGBTQIQS minorities. Ilan Yampolsky from Skate Canada also spoke of their work with Dr. William Bridel on the SITF’s NSO Pilot Project that is being supported by a three year SHRC grant.
Additional presentations were made on the important work being done by Egale Canada and You Can Play. The half-day educational session was attended by over 200 senior members of N/MSOs, as well as local PSOs from the host province of Alberta. The session culminated in the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) Awards and Recognition Committee presenting the 2017 International Olympic Committee (IOC) Trophy for Sport Beyond Borders to You Can Play. For more information about the session and / or the NSO pilot work underway, contact