Thursday, September 15, 2005

Double discrimination

We are letting down our boys.

Just take the issue of sports. Last year a Victorian tribunal ruled that a 14-year-old girl could not be excluded from playing in a boys' football competition. This was done in accordance with anti-discrimination laws.

The very same tribunal has now decided that it's fine to exclude 12-year-old and 13-year-old boys from a girls' netball league. Netball Victoria welcomed the decision, with the comment that "Girls don't play the same way as boys and don't always wish to play against boys. We believe they should have that choice."

Well, yes. They should have that choice. But so too should boys.

And to compound the double standard, there is now a Victorian football league from which boys are excluded. A newspaper article quoted one of the girl players saying "When you play with boys, you don't feel very comfortable tackling." Which I can well understand; but I also understand that many boys would (rightly) not feel comfortable tackling girls either.

So the situation is this: we have anti-discrimination laws which prevent boys from having their own football competition, but which allow girls to have their own football and netball competitions.

In other words, the anti-discrimination laws blatantly and unjustifiably discriminate. They should be scrapped: something is wrong when we can't even allow boys to do something as normal and healthy as play football together.

(I've discussed this issue previously in an article "Free to Choose??")

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