Neutral zone violation


If one thing is certain in this crazy, mixed up, gender neutralized world in which we find ourselves, it’s that you can’t win.


The Wakefield High School Field Hockey Team learned that the hard way last week. The local girls got bounced from the playoffs by a Wayland team — that included boys. Would you care to guess the gender of the players who scored the Wayland goals to defeat Wakefield’s girls? Here’s a hint: Their names were Zeke and Aiden.

In American youth sports, field hockey has traditionally been played by girls’ teams against other girls’ teams, because “traditionally” we’ve acknowledged that there are physical differences between males and females. But “tradition” is a bad word these days. And the “woke” crowd – the ones who claim to believe in science – insist that we pretend that there’s no difference between boys and girls.

So now a field hockey team that includes boys gets to roll over the traditional girls-only teams. We’ve officially ruined girls and women’s sports by allowing males to compete – either openly as men or by “identifying” as women.

It’s our own fault. First, we vote to neuter the names of boards and committees. Then we shrug when they decide that high school graduation gowns have to be gender neutral. And now we wonder why there are boys dominating girls’ sports.

It’s all part of the same game plan. Where it’s taken us should be no surprise. They say it’s all about “fairness” and “equality.” How “fair” and “equal” was last week’s boys vs. girls field hockey game?

Then there’s the woman who came before the Town Council last week and learned that you can’t win, even when you try to play by the new woke rules.

Julie Scott had a sincere and, in her view, a logical argument to make.

She pointed out that after the town voted to change the name of the Board of Selectmen to the gender-neutral “Town Council,” the town went through the entire Town Charter, striking all gender-specific references such as “chairman” and replacing them with “chairperson.”

Why then, she wondered, in town documents like meeting agendas, was the term “chairman” still being used? She cited as examples the Town Council’s own meeting agendas as well as the agenda for the recent “Tri-Board” meeting, where the presiding officers of the Town Council, Finance Committee and School Committee were each referenced as “chairman.”

Town Council Chairman Ed Dombroski explained that while he agreed that the position should be gender neutral, the individual holding the position is not. As a man, he explained, he chooses to identify as the “chairman” of the Town Council. A woman holding the position would be free to call herself “chairwoman.” Another person of either sex might prefer “chairperson” or simply “chair.”

Ms. Scott was not wrong. She was simply trying to apply logic to nonsensical policies. It’s a game you can’t win.

I learned that lesson a few years ago.

Before the official vote to do away with the “Board of Selectmen,” the female members of the board had repeatedly made it clear that they favored changing the name because they did not wish to be known by the title, “selectman.”

In a sincere effort to accommodate that wish, after the first reference to “selectman” in my news stories, I would refer to the women as “board members.” This was nothing new. It’s a standard journalistic practice to avoid repeating the same word over and over. In so doing, if I could also avoid applying a title where it wasn’t wanted, that would be a win-win, right?


For my efforts, I was excoriated as “sexist” and “juvenile.”

That was when I learned that you can’t win in this gender-neutral game.

Unless you’re the Wayland field hockey team.

[This column originally appeared in the November 7, 2019 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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