‘This is a story of love’: Former N.H. NHL player says he never really knew the NHL’s transgender policy
In February 2016, the NHL announced a new policy that allowed players to use the bathroom of their choice.
But some players have not been happy with that.
“I think the idea of going in there and not being able to use that bathroom, that’s not fair,” said former N.h.
NHL forward Brad Marchand.
“The policy was really clear: if you’re transgender, you have to use a different bathroom.”
Marchand, who played in the N.W.A. and other acts of protest during the 1960s and 1970s, said that as a gay man who was born with a penis, he had a difficult time adjusting to his new identity.
“To be honest, it was a bit confusing,” he said.
“For the most part, it just made me feel different.”
After several weeks of discussing the issue, Marchand and the other players formed a coalition of supporters to send a letter to Commissioner Gary Bettman in January 2017, asking for a change in the league’s policy.
They also called on Bettman to allow trans players to play in the NHL.
After the letter was sent, the commissioner did not immediately take action, but in a letter on February 18, he reiterated the league had a transgender policy, but he did not explicitly state it should be enforced.
“As Commissioner, I would be remiss if I did not recognize the importance of providing equal access to women and men in our sport and to allow transgender individuals to compete on the ice, on the rink and in the arenas,” Bettman wrote.
“In addition, I want to reiterate that we recognize that this policy is not perfect, and we are committed to continuing to develop and improve our policies for all sports in the United States and throughout the world.”
Two weeks later, on March 18, Bettman signed a memo that included a statement from the league and its players that included clarifications about how the policy applied to transgender athletes.
“We want to make it clear that we are not going to be enforcing a policy that would create barriers for transgender individuals in our game,” the statement said.
The NHL’s stance on transgender athletes is similar to the stance it took when the NBA changed its policy last year, when the league said that transgender players would be able to participate in its all-male team but would not be allowed to play on the team.
Bettman said that he didn’t expect to see the same sort of change when the NHL implemented its new policy.
“It’s a long way from there, and there are going to have to be changes made to accommodate trans athletes and to make sure they have access to the right facilities,” he told reporters on March 19.
“So the next time I’m out there and I see a transgender person, I will say: ‘Thank you, that was a step in the right direction.'”
Marchand said that the players who had lobbied for a policy change were disappointed that the commissioner had not made a statement, but that the league was moving forward.
“They have a lot of power in the NFL, and they’re using it,” he wrote.
The letter also asked the league to create a “transgender friendly” locker room, and asked the commissioner to “prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals.”
The players’ coalition has since organized an event called “The Truth Is In: We Want To Talk About The Trans Issue,” and on Tuesday, the league released a statement to ESPN that said the league does not enforce a “bathroom policy.”
“We have never, and will never, enforce a gender neutral restroom policy, which is why our policy on transgender individuals includes protections for transgender athletes,” the league statement read.
“That said, we are working with the trans community to create safer and more inclusive environments for transgender and gender diverse athletes in our league.”
It also said that if the league decided to implement a policy in the future, the transgender community should be consulted.
“If a trans athlete wishes to use an all-gender restroom, they should be able do so without having their gender and gender identity questioned or discriminated against, and with the support of the League, the entire transgender community,” the NFL statement read, before listing some of the “concerns that exist for transgender people.”
In March, Bettmann said he expected the league would soon make changes to its policy.
In a statement published on his website, Bettamnt said he would not impose a transgender-specific policy.
The statement went on to say that the NHL would not make the decision to enforce a policy until the league adopted a new transgender policy.
Marchand believes that a policy like the one proposed by the league is not fair.
“And if I’m wrong, the trans people in my life are going in the bathroom and they have to deal with me,” he added.
“What they are not dealing with is me