Thursday, October 27, 2011

Have a Heart

Girl Scouts has been in the news. There is a girl in Colorado who wants to join, only technically she's a he. I'm on a national leader's forum where they are debating the issue. A lot of the comments have been so negative and show a complete lack of understanding and compassion. I explained it to my kids like this- there are girl brains and boy brains, and they are different. (Neither is better than the other, they are just different.) There are also girl bodies and boy bodies. Most of the time, the boy brains go to the boy bodies and the girl brains go to girl bodies, but some times the girl brains get in the boy body and the boy brain goes in a girl body. That's what happened to this child; she's got a girl brain but a boy body.

My kids were able to understand the concept. A lot of the leaders, sad to say, don't. You are what your parts say you are, pure and simple. No room at all for understanding that there are differences in people.

Why does every single group have to fight for acceptance? Why was the civil rights movement necessary? Why do gays have to fight for the right to marry? Just live and let live- it's no skin off your nose if two men or two women fall in love and want to live their lives together. It's no skin off your nose if some child who is living as a girl, because that's who she feels she is regardless of the "parts", wants to be a part of a girls' organization.

Now, I understand that there are boys who would take advantage of this to be around their girlfriends, or find a girlfriend, or otherwise get up to mischief. I am not talking about those boys. Here's the statement released by the Girl Scout council in question:

"Girl Scouts is an inclusive organization, and we accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child lives life as a girl and the family brings the child to us to participate in Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her. Girl Scouts of Colorado respects the privacy of all girls and families we work with. When a family requests membership for their daughter, we do not require proof of gender, we respect the decisions of families."

The key part of the statement is "If a child lives life as a girl". This would rule out boys looking for trouble. The child must live as a girl all the time, not just to join Girl Scouts. Of course there will be issues to be dealt with. The child has special needs; the other girls in this child's troop would also have to have their needs respected. Bathroom and sleeping arrangements would need to be worked out to the satisfaction of girls, leaders, and parents before any over night field trips. It's do-able as long as everyone involved acts with care, compassion, and understanding, as we all should in all aspects of our lives.

In conclusion, here is the post I sent to the leader's group. (In the first paragraph, I am responding to a post that equates Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, when they are not the same at all.)

Excuse me, but Boy Scouts is NOT for all boys. They are a discriminatory organization that would NEVER allow a transgendered child into their ranks. They do not even allow boys who are gay or the children of gay or atheist parents to join. (Technically- I will allow that there are probably some leaders who are OK with it, but as an organization they do not. One Greenblood-er sent in a quote from their bylaws a few years ago so it is on the books.) That means that there is only one inclusive scouting organization out there, only not so inclusive since they gender-discriminate. This is something I was OK with for my first two children, both girls, but now I have a son who wants to be involved in a scouting program like his sisters (he's secure in his gender, he just wants to go camping and attend all the cool field trips) but he can't. (We don't meet the Boy Scout criteria.) So the statement "there is one for girls and one for boys" is incorrect. They are not equivalent organizations; Boy Scouts is not for all boys.

As for this one child, I am so sorry to hear all of the negative comments from women who are supposed to know better and live by the Girl Scout Law. How can we judge? This is a child who is one sex in her brain, another in his body. This is a real condition, it's not "in the child's head". It has nothing to do with how much counseling is available to the family or having men around. (If that were the case every boy raised by a single mom would have gender identity issues, and such is not the case.) As a teacher for emotionally troubled kids, I beg you all to have a heart. Please don't be so judgmental. This is a child struggling in our world, a child who is not going to go out and intimidate the girls into pretending they are bad at math and all of those other things that happen when boys mix with girls. I agree with the council's statement- if the child presents as a girl, is living as a girl, has parents who are open minded and loving enough to accept that this child is a girl in spite of the "parts", then there should be a place in Girl Scouts for this child and other transgendered girls. I would take this child in my troop in a heartbeat- it's the only thing to do, according to our law, especially the parts about fair, friendly, respecting others, and making the world a better place.

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

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