Members of Chilliwack FC’s premier women’s team put this patch on their jersey to recognize the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities. (Submitted photo)

Members of Chilliwack FC’s premier women’s team put this patch on their jersey to recognize the LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC communities. (Submitted photo)

LETTER: Canadian athlete living in Germany responds to Chilliwack FC LGBTQ patch controversy

‘Suspending players for advocating human rights is scandalous’

I would like to comment on “Chilliwack FC women’s players create stir adding unsanctioned patch to jerseys.” As a former Canadian national athlete, fourth in the world and representative of my province in three Canada Games in three different sports, I can attest to the fact that organized sport was one of the most homophobic sites of my youth.

READ MORE: Chilliwack FC women’s players create stir adding unsanctioned patch to jerseys

Until today, especially in soccer, it is nearly impossible for male players to come out. Female gymnast, track athletes, etc. are to wear over-emphasized feminine garments, to look pretty and petite and feminine even when their sport demands muscles and sinew. The sexism and heterosexism is hardly diminished in sport since my heyday in the 1970s and 1980s.

But thankfully, society at large has changed. Laws and public opinion have changed and so the FC women’s soccer players have made a compassionate attempt to show solidarity with a still discriminated against group of athletes. “Respect for all” though well-intended unfortunately has a ring of “All lives matter.” It smacks of not being able to say the real words. Heterosexual athletes have respect. LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC athletes often do not. Over and over in the discussion about a rainbow crosswalk for Chilliwack, we saw the same sentiments expressed as quoted here: “It’s not incumbent on the executive to impose our political and personal beliefs on the membership.” LGBTQI2S+ and BIPOC right to equality is not a “political and personal belief.” It is in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is human rights. It is about supporting a group of athletes who daily experience discrimination on and off the field.

Suspending players for advocating human rights is scandalous and sends a very wrong message to these young people. Chilliwack isn’t ready for human rights expressed on a soccer jersey? I think it is. These young women have proved that. I was asked recently at a talk who my mentors are. I can tell you…they are the Chilliwack FC women’s soccer players who dared to take a stand. I wish I had been as courageous as you during my sports career. I did not even know at the time I would have been fighting for my own life choices. So let me say some decades later, thank you to the women soccer players of Chilliwack FC for trying to make your community a better place for everyone.

Carolyn Gammon

Berlin, Germany (frequent visitor to Chilliwack)

• Send your letter to the editor via email to editor@theprogress.com. Please include your first and last name, address, and phone number.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack Progress Letters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

An injection kit is seen inside a Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Hope’s high rate of drug overdose noted in BC Coroners Service report

Up-to-date numbers not available yet for 2021, but Fraser Health deaths on the rise

Screenshot from security footage a young, thin cougar prowling on Oliver Crescent in Sardis on May 7, 2021. (Dustin Meyer photo)
VIDEO: Cougar sighting in residential Chilliwack neighbourhood prompts warning

Springtime cougar sightings likely due to cats following deer down to valley floor, says CO

<a href="Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning." target="_blank"></a>Facebook users reported seeing a body on the side of the road this morning. (File photo)
Man killed in fatal hit-and-run collision between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Body reported at 6 a.m., police close North Parallel Road, single highway lane as they investigate

Westbound traffic is slow moving on Highway 1 following a crash that has police blocking one lane. Google Maps screenshot taken at 9:07 a.m.
TRAFFIC: Crash on North Parallel Road causes road closure, single westbound Highway 1 lane blocked

Abbotsford Police investigating, roads closed between McDermott and No. 3 Road

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read