Rod Dreher

Ice-Rink Robespierres

(Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ain’t it the truth! That’s the most 2020 Democratic Party question ever! Trump may or may not win, but if he wins, it will surely have something to do with the fact that the Democrats, and the left in general, have lost their minds over this stuff.

Quillette ran a piece the other day about a Canadian dad who cannot coach his kid’s hockey team because he (the dad) refused to go through gender theory re-education. Excerpts:

Minivans stuffed with hockey gear and parents sipping drive-thru coffee rink-side are quintessential Canadian suburban scenes. But since 2018, the world of hockey moms and dads has become just another venue for the spread of what one Ontario hockey coach describes as culture-war propaganda.

Actually, make that former coach: “I can’t coach. I can’t be on the bench. I can’t help on the ice—Even just to help on the ice, you need this training,” he explains. After having assisted on his son’s hockey team for three years, the father has been removed from all positions because he questioned the necessity of a mandatory gender identity training course imposed by Hockey Eastern Ontario (formerly the Ottawa District Hockey Association) following a 2017 legal settlement involving a transgender hockey player.

The father has been interviewed by Quillette, and supplied documentation outlining his concerns and tracking his correspondence with other parties mentioned below. These concerns include the possibility that he will be taken up on accusations of transphobia merely for speaking with the media, which is why we have agreed to refer to him here as John Doe.


In part because of past abuse scandals, the coaching of children in hockey (as in most other sports) is now regulated by government and oversight bodies. And even assistant coaches who volunteer on a part-time basis often must submit to background checks. Doe himself has completed a number of mandated courses, and says he fully supports anti-discrimination efforts led by Hockey Eastern Ontario; and the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), which oversees the majority of minor hockey in Ontario, from players as young as six years old on up. But he balked when he saw the 33-slide module on gender that was included in his required gender diversity course. “I would be fine taking an awareness course if it [were] factual and based in science,” he told Quillette. “But I felt it was too ideological.”

This is an important point. John Doe has no problem in principle taking gender theory training; it’s this specific training that he objects to. But this is how these totalitarians work: if you don’t agree 100 percent with everything they say, then you are an Enemy Of The People, and must be punished.


Somewhat predictably, Egale instructs hockey officials that “pre-season chats are a great opportunity for everyone on your team, including coaches, assistant coaches and volunteers to share the name and gender pronoun by which they wish to be called.” But what irked Doe were the materials that went beyond practical advice, and instead comprised a sort of free-form gender-studies seminar full of fanciful and dubious claims.

You have to read the whole thing to see the details of what the parents have to agree to, simply to be allowed to volunteer. The slides are incredible. Here’s one:

One last quote:

On slide 28 of the Egale-authored materials, coaches are introduced to the concept of “cisnormativity”—which is illustrated with a sketched image of a person (presumably trans) seeking to avoid being crushed by a (presumably cis—i.e., non-trans) fist. After interacting with Hockey Canada and Egale fruitlessly, Doe concluded that the organizational priority had shifted from teaching kids hockey and making all feel welcome, to proselytizing a barely comprehensible gender typology. It had become clear that his days of coaching were effectively over: To even question these materials made a coach the human embodiment of that “cisnormative” fist.

Read it all. I’m serious. This is important.

Understand this: the Democratic Party presidential candidates will not stand up to any of this. They are owned, completely, by LGBT activists. Here is a Canadian father who wants to understand how to make hockey for accessible for trans-identified kids, and to be helpful in that. But that is not enough. 

Nothing is ever enough for these activists, and those politicians they have in their pockets, except the total ruin of ideological opponents. And here’s another important point, from the Quillette article. It has to do about a response that John Doe got from Jaclyn Isen, an official with the activist group Egale Canada, which has designed the re-education course.

Unfortunately, Isen’s response was rendered in the somewhat arcane language typical of her gender-studies background. (In a 2015 paper, Rendering a Neighbourhood Queer, Isen and co-authors sought to use “collective mental mapping and photovoice renderings [to] interpret the queering of urban space as a queer utopian impulse.”) In response to Doe’s question about “polygender” kids who, Egale claims, can switch genders on a daily basis, for instance, Isen replied: “It is not outside the realm of possibility that the personal choice of what dressing room may feel the most comfortable and safest for any gender diverse person may shift over time as they navigate their own path toward affirming their identity while also navigating their own vulnerability to the possibility of transphobic harassment or bullying in those spaces.” (Isen did not respond to requests for comment.)

In other words, “You are all to be held hostage to the whims of gender-confused kids.” What I find so interesting about this is that people like Isen are so immersed in the discourse of this world that they have no idea how it sounds to people outside the community of the elect.

I strongly believe the American media are part of that community, and are so invested emotionally in the LGBT activists’ narrative that they cannot even see or hear through the eyes of others. Again: here, in Canada, is a father who is sympathetic to the challenges trans-identified kids face in youth sports leagues, and wants to help. But for these Gender-Theory Robespierres of the ice rink, anything short of utter purity is unacceptable.

We will not see our media report on this aspect of the issue during this election year. Their concern is entirely with issues like getting the state to lower the cost of puberty blockers. Americans who are like this Canadian hockey volunteer are forgotten by these Democrats, and if they come to mind at all, it’s as bigots to be eliminated from the public square.

If Trump wins re-election, he and the Republicans in Congress are going to have to stop being passive about things like this, and take concrete actions to protect ordinary people and their organizations from activists and liberal Democrats.

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