Human rights case set for March

Two women who say they were denied entry into a 2009 Lions Club fundraiser will have their say before an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in three months.

The hearing is set for March 27 and 29 at Centre 2000 in Erin village.

Mary and Sarah Traversy say they were denied entry into the Erin Lions Club fundraiser at the same building on April 17, 2009.

That event featured a draw, a comedian and female exotic dancers, as it had for about 40 years.

The two women aged 20 and 22 respectively at the time. Their parents, Norm and Sandra, said the event should not have been held in a town-owned building that also houses a high school, day care, arena, theatre and library. The family also objected to the alleged refusal to allow women at the event.

The girls filed an application with Human Rights Tribunal shortly after the incident.

But Lions Club spokesman Dick Dow told the Advertiser in 2009 the club does not have any female members and has always had a “men-only” policy at the annual party be­cause it does not want to offend women.

“Our club feels we’ve done nothing wrong,” Dow said at the time. “We didn’t do anything out of line and we didn’t break any laws.”

He also noted the event was over by 11pm and held in an area of the community centre that the club helped build.

The incident created a stir of controversy in the community, fed in part by what some have called overzealous coverage by other News sources.

Some people in the community complained the Traversy sisters were just trying to stir up trouble, while the Traversy family said it received anonymous hate mail after the incident and was treated differently by some people the family has known for years.

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal will take place before an adjudicator on March 27 and 29. It is open to the public.